Bangladesh: UNODC strengthens evidence handling capabilities of law enforcement Agencies to counter maritime crime

Dhaka, Bangladesh/28 September 2023: Maritime crime presents a significant challenge to coastal nations like Bangladesh, encompassing issues such as drug trafficking, illegal fishing, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. As a way to effectively address these threats, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) developed an integrated training package, aimed at equipping maritime law enforcement agencies and criminal justice actors with the skills and knowledge needed to combat maritime crime and ensure a legal finish.

In September, 21 members from the Bangladesh Coast Guard, Department of Narcotics Control, Police (River Police, Criminal Investigation Division and Police Bureau of Investigation), involved in the law enforcement and forensic fields, joined a 5-day training programme aimed at providing a comprehensive understanding on the procedures for collecting, storing, preserving, and documenting evidence, including crime scene management, role of physical evidence, maritime evidence, crime scene documentation, crime scene photography, crime scene sketching, biological evidence, and more.

For this purpose, and to align training activities with international practices in maritime law enforcement, UNODC partnered with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), bringing an active Law Enforcement Advisor under the Transnational Crimes Unit in NCIS Bahrain, directly supporting evidence collection during maritime law enforcement operations in the Arabian Sea.

This course is being delivered under UNODC’s Integrated Training Package developed by its Global Maritime Crime Programme, which serves as a comprehensive initiative that combines a maritime interdiction course and a mock crime scene exercise with evidence handling training, evidence package preparation and prosecution mentoring, culminating in a simulated trial, all with the purpose of strengthening the capabilities of all criminal justice actors involved to ensure legal finish of maritime crimes.

As such, the trainees had the opportunity to participate in a mock crime scene on board a vessel at a pier in Shyampur, in the Buriganga River. During the exercise, the trainees tested the skills learned in class to effectively collect evidence found hidden in the vessel, take photographs, write case reports and more. Following the simulation, UNODC and NCIS are currently providing mentoring for the preparation of evidence package which will be used during a simulated trial scheduled for early October.

UNODC is committed to continue supporting the Government of Bangladesh in addressing challenges in the criminal justice system to ensure successful prosecutions of maritime crimes.

The activity contributed to SDG 16 and SDG 17:

(Supported by the Government of Japan)