After defining environmental crime and its manifestation as organized crime in European Union (EU) member states, this paper discusses monitoring and intelligence collection for environmental crime and the integration of environmental criminal law into organized crime legislation, followed by the results of a survey designed to determine the training needs of Slovene police to prepare them for the enforcement of environmental law.
Environmental crime is essentially a violation of a law designed to protect and preserve the natural environment and its capacity to meet the survival and health needs of animals and humans who depend upon it. In European member states, environmental crime has been perpetrated by organized criminal groups in domains that include trading in endangered species, the illegal dumping and storage of waste, illegal commercial trade in ozone depleting substances, and illegal logging and trade in wood. This involvement of organized crime in environmental crime requires the integration of environmental law into organized-crime legislation. Further, the complexity of many cases of environmental crime, particularly those that involve sophisticated organized criminal groups, require a high level of expertise in environmental law and the ways in which it is violated, as well as a significant investment of time, finances, and personnel in investigation and prosecution. Interagency cooperation is also required. A survey among Slovene police officers confirmed the need for a systematic basic and advanced training of the police and criminal investigators in the nature of environmental crime, means of detecting it, and investigative techniques for collecting the evidence necessary for a conviction. Suggestions are offered for the content of such education and training. 28 references