Photo: Csonka Peter
At the end of February 2023 a new sector Crimes against nature in the Economy police department at the National Police Service has been created. The sector will maintain criminal investigation, information, coordination and organization activities for prevention and counteraction of the crimes under the articles 235-239, 2788C-278d, 349 and 352-354 from the Code of Penal Procedure. Some of them include forests, game animals, fish, protected habitats and areas, protected species, drinking waters, soil, air and water pollution, waste management, poisons, etc.
Constituting of this sector is a result of the work of the Interministerial group, established by the Ministry of Interior in 2022, which had to suggest a mechanism of cooperation between the competent institutions – Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Environment and Waters, and Ministry of Agriculture. The establishment of the sector is part of the implementation of the Directive 2008/99/EO of the European Parliament and of the Council from 19th of November 2008, regarding the protection of the environment by the means of the criminal law.
BSPB supports the building of the institutional capacity for fight and prevention of the abuse of protected species. Representatives of the organization took active part in the work of the Interministerial group which laid the frame and the necessary activities for the constitution of the specialized sector in MI. The group worked towards developing a uniform protocol of action in cases of detected abuse, infringement or crime against the nature, as well as constituting of the coordinating body, which will give timely and effective support on the institutional and operational level. Another important task of the working group is creating conditions for improving the exchange of information between institutions.
Bulgarian society for the protection of birds supports the work of the group with its long expertise in the fight with crimes against protected bird species. Over 15 years our team works actively against the poisoned baits, poaching, nest robbing and trafficking, leading to the serious threats to many species such as Saker falcon, Imperial eagle, Red-breasted goose, Egyptian vulture, etc.
We believe that with the constitution of this specialized sector the number of the solved cases with abuse and destruction of protected areas and natural heritage will increase and the penalties, provided in the law will be properly imposed.