250 special surveillance cameras will be installed on the Romanian border, in an effort to combat illicit cross-border trafficking. The Romanian Border Police project, carried out with the support of BAT, will cover important segments of Romania's border, subject to continuous attempts of fraudulent crossing with significant quantities of cigarettes. Smuggling has been included as a threat to national security in the National Defense Strategy for 2020-2024.
Romania has over 2,000 km of the external border of the European Union, important parts being in mountainous and forested areas where border surveillance is difficult.
“In the context in which cigarettes are three times more expensive in Romania than in neighboring non-EU countries, it is understandable why smuggling networks make huge profits. We hope that this investment in the safety of Romania's borders will contribute to reducing a phenomenon that affects us all: consumers, fair companies, the state. We are glad that we have the opportunity to be with the professionals from the Romanian Border Police, especially on the occasion of the Romanian Border Police Day”, said Ileana Dumitru, Legal Director and Public Relations BAT Romania.
Although according to stopcontrabanda.ro in the first half of 2021 the authorities seized about 66 million smuggled cigarettes, with over 15% more than in the same period last year, the black market is growing. Thus, in June 2021 the level of smuggling jumped again to the threshold of 10% of total consumption, a level that had not been reached for 18 months, since January 2020. The 250 mobile surveillance cameras with motion sensor such as hunting cameras they will facilitate the efforts of the Border Police both during the day and at night.
"I have been leading the activities of preventing and combating cross-border crime at the northern border of the country for several years, so I know very well both the successes and the difficulties that my colleagues face. Surveillance of Romania's border is an ongoing challenge. Hardly accessible landforms, wooded mountains and valleys, alpine hollows or mountain ridges, represent a challenge even for the modern border surveillance techniques we have already implemented: motion sensors, thermal imaging equipment, drones, night vision goggles etc. The support given by BAT, which helps us to implement a new system based on mobile video cameras, to prevent and combat smuggling, is welcome and we hope to further streamline the work of my colleagues, who oversee such an active border from a operative point of view”, said Liviu Bute, the general inspector of the Border Police.
Data on the evolution of cigarette catches in Romania can be consulted in real time on the platform www.stopcontrabanda.ro, a British American Tobacco initiative that aims to support the efforts of the authorities by centralizing catches throughout the country, but also to inform consumers on the effects of cigarette smuggling on society. The campaign is carried out in partnership with the Romanian Police, the Romanian Border Police, the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) and the General Directorate of Customs
About cigarette smuggling in Romania
- Romania has 2,000 km of border with non-EU countries, where the price of tobacco can be up to 6 times lower.
- Illicit cigarette trafficking annually damages the Romanian state by approximately 3 billion lei
- Since the beginning of 2021, the Border Police confiscated 1,442,000 packs of contraband cigarettes and 57.5 tons of tobacco. In the first 6 months of 2021, 4 organized smuggling groups were dismantled and over 300 people were investigate for smuggling and customs fraud.
- Each container of illegal cigarettes means 1 million euros profit for smuggling networks. Interpol data show that illicit cigarette trafficking is a catalyst for trafficking in drugs, weapons, people and even terrorist activities.