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Project Code and Sector
Project Background and Justification
Immediate Objective, Outputs and Main Activities
Counterpart, Institutional Setting and Implementing Arrangements
Financial Information

AD/RAS/97/C46 - Enhancement of capacity to gather and exchange information by East Asia law enforcement agencies

1. Project Code and Sector

No. and Title: AD/RAS/97/C46 - Enhancement of capacity to gather and exchange information by East Asia law enforcement agencies
Status/Starting Date: 4 August 1999
Project Function: Subregional: Law Enforcement
Duration: 3 years
Executing Agency: UNODC
Aggregate Budget & Funding Source: US$ 1,127,200 / U.S. (Partial funding)


2. Project Background and Justification

Remote areas within the subregion comprising Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar Thailand and Vietnam have long been a source of opium and heroin production for world markets. South East Asian heroin continues to reach abusers in North America, Europe and Australasia by means of ever changing trafficking routes and ingenious methods of delivery. Although from time to time there have been impressive seizures in the region, the total amount of drug intercepted in any one year is only a small percentage of the total production. Persons apprehended in the past have largely been couriers and/or small time dealers whose removal from the scene has had little or no effect on the overall position.Of recent times the situation has worsened with the emergence of ATS [Amphetamine Type Stimulants] as a international substance of abuse, with increasing popularity among young people, and it is often manufactured and handled by the same regional groups as deal in heroin. The production of heroin and ATS both require certain chemical ingredients in the refining processes and these are smuggled to the manufacturing locations by a variety of clandestine arrangements. The authorities therefore are faced with the situation of precursor chemicals being moved into production areas while dangerous drugs are being moved away from them. In some places, shipments are escorted by armed people and interception by enforcement officers can be met with fierce resistence. The six countries do not have identical concerns, but one way or another they all have serious problems with the production, consumption or transit of illicit drugs and the transit of precursor chemicals. Each country also faces differing degrees of support from its general public for drug suppression initiatives. This can be attributed to the fact that some agencies lack integrity in the eyes of the people and do not operate under high standards of professional performance.

A major weapon in the fight against any form of criminal activity is information but it is especially relevant to drug crime investigation and suppression. To be effective, regional drug investigators must be able gather and process information from a wide variety of formal and informal sources. Information on people, places, routes, methods of shipment, distribution networks, profit investment are but a few of the details that should be known to investigating authorities if major offenders are to be brought to justice. Intelligence networks must be built and sources of information cultivated. Collecting and processing information into intelligence is a specialised task and requires skills that can be taught in enforcement training courses. Likewise, handling informants, especially those close to offenders, needs careful instruction as it can often be a delicate [if not dangerous] undertaking..

The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988, urges parties to permit the rapid exchange of information at the operational level and to develop policies, strategies and procedures allowing mutual assistance and cooperation in drug investigations that range across borders. This project focuses on those aspects that directly hinge on the collection, processing and exchange of intelligence. Previously, countries tended not to confide information to their neighbours and even within jurisdictions there was a reluctance for enforcement agencies to share intelligence. Organisations seemed to exist in a spirit of competition more than one of cooperation. There were few procedures for officers who gained useful knowledge to put it into a system where it could be effectively acted upon. The reasons behind this rivalry and reticence have been identified and debated at workshops and moves are in hand to have staff become intelligence minded and to move toward cooperative, intelligence-driven operations. In the past, mutual assistance in investigative matters seldom occurred and enforcement personnel generally did not even know their counterparts in adjacent territories. That is all now changing under the guidance of the project. Officers are now on first name terms with counterparts and know [and trust] them well enough to telephone when urgent contact is needed. Lower level contact is sometimes not so good because of language difficulties but this is a point to be addressed as the project progresses. Countries now clearly appreciate the need for legislation, alliances, agreements and common procedures and they are being introduced, albeit slowly.

The Subregional Action Plan for Drug Control, approved in May 1995 by the governments of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and by the UNODC, now encompasses twelve projects. Six of them, including this one, have a law enforcement perspective and are aimed at improving the capacity of the enforcement agencies to suppress, investigate and prosecute drug crime and drug-related crime. As stated, this project specifically seeks to enhance the capacity of countries to gather and exchange enforcement information. UNODC assistance will mainly be rendered by providing computer and other electronic equipment, support, guidance, advice, and training through workshops, seminars and courses.

With the exception of Thailand, which already has fairly advanced systems, the countries all have a long way to go before they will have intelligence networks and systems at the level of agencies in some of the more developed nations. However, each country has an organisational structure to meet the requirements of the project and because each government has signalled commitment to the plan, there is every confidence that significant achievement will result.


3. Immediate Objective, Outputs and Main Activities

A. Immediate Objective:
To enhance the capacity of law enforcement agencies to gather, analyze and disseminate drug enforcement information nationally and where applicable subregionally in systematic manner by trained personnel.

B. Main Project Activities:
1. Hold subregional workshop of senior officers from each of the MOU countries to: identify the existing drug enforcement information gathering capabilities in the subregion; receive advice on the systems established in other countries of the subregion and elsewhere; determine the basic principles for a drug enforcement information gathering system suitable for use by the participating countries; identify and where possible agree as to the basic parameters for an information gathering database to meet national requirements and to be compatible between the countries of the subregion.
Ensure that each MOU country establish a staffed national drug enforcement information unit in each of the MOU countries.
Establish an intelligence gathering and analysis training programme for the members of the drug intelligence units of the participating countries. Provide trainers course in each country to provide for an ongoing intelligence and analysis gathering training programme.

Hold two subregional meetings of the heads of the drug enforcement intelligence units to share and coordinate the exchange of information and to resolve any related issues.

2. Hold subregional workshop to develop a reporting form to facilitate the exchange of drug related enforcement intelligence between enforcement agencies.
Provide a minimum of equipment to ensure that each drug intelligence unit is able to gather information for analysis and dissemination.
Create an operating database to meet the parameters established during the first senior officers subregional workshop.
Develop of a training manual for personnel assigned to use the database for analytical work.

C. Project Outputs:
A drug enforcement information unit established within each country and staffed by trained personnel.
A training program for intelligence analysts developed and installed nationally to ensure the continued training of members assigned to the enforcement information unit.

An operational drug information database established and working in each drug enforcement information unit of the MOU countries.

Training manual and reporting forms produced for each MOU country to support an ongoing exchange of information.


4. Counterpart, Institutional Setting and Implementing Arrangements

The project will be executed by UNODC. A Programme Steering Committee established under the MOU will meet annually to review progress and provide overall policy guidance on the implementation of the Subregional Action Plan including this project. The services of a Project Coordinator with experience at senior level in a law enforcement agency will be utilized for a period of six months per annum, working in close liaison with the Law Enforcement Adviser in the UNODC Regional Centre, Bangkok. Technical expertise will be obtained from international (i.e. ICPO & WCO) and national agencies to support the workshops and training programs. Intelligence analysis training courses will be sought from police and customs organizations that have a developed expertise in these areas. The participating countries will appoint a national project coordinator with whom the project coordinator can liaise.



5. Financial Information

Project Budget in US$ (app)
Personnel 408,000
Training 302,000
Equipment 250,000
Miscellaneous 37,500
Project Support Cost 129,700
Total $1,127,200