This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.
Which integrity measures can customs institutions take to increase their resilience to organised criminal groups' use of corruption and physical threats?
Various customs administrations have reported that their officials are physically threatened by organised criminal groups to abuse their power and facilitate illicit activities, such as drug trafficking. This Helpdesk Answer conceptually analyses how organised criminal groups use corruption and physical threats to influence customs officials and enable their profit-making activities, before describing how applying certain integrity measures could potentially prevent and counter the emergence of such threats.
- A conceptual understanding of physical threat, corruption and organised crime
- The interplay between corruption and physical threat
- Organised criminal groups’ use of corruption and physical threats
- Organised criminal groups’ use of corruption and physical threats against customs officials
- Organised criminal groups’ interests in the customs sector
- Organised criminal groups’ corruption of customs officials
- Organised criminal groups’ use of physical threats against customs officials
- Exploring the potential of integrity measures to address organised criminal groups’ use of corruption and physical threats against customs officials
- Scoping interventions
- Assessing risks
- Public integrity measures
- Holistic approach
- There is general agreement within the literature that organised criminal groups use corruption and physical threat as tactics to enable their profit-making activities, but less agreement on what makes them select one tactic over the other given the influence of many contextual variables.
- Both of these tactics are used against customs officials to facilitate their profit-making activities. While their use of physical threat has been comparatively less studied, it presents serious risks to the integrity of customs administrations.
- Customs administrations are best placed to take internally orientated measures to prevent and respond to the infiltration of organised criminal groups and the emergence of physical threats.
- Enhanced integrity measures have the potential to make a positive contribution in this regard. These measures include safe and secure whistleblowing mechanisms, lifestyle checks, staff rotation policies and integrity training of officials.
Jamie Bergin, [email protected]
Caitlin Maslen and Matthew Jenkins (TI)
Rosa Loureiro-Revilla (U4)