South Africa’s Green Scorpions chief inspector, Frances Craigie, also serves on the Interpol environmental board. She encourages public information.
Ms Craigie’s title is Chief Director of Enforcement in the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), also known as the Green Scorpions. She encourages the public to report environmental incidents and crimes, such as waste dumping, by the 24 hour environment hotline on 0800 205 005.
Her task is to ensure that the environment is protected and preserved for future generations. She has been part of the Environmental Management Inspectorate or Green Scorpions since its inception.
Interpol leads cross-border environmental investigations
Craigie represents South Africa on the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee Advisory Board, currently as vice chairperson.
Interpol aims to bring together law enforcement agencies from different countries to fight crime more effectively.
Each member-country has its own Interpol office, called a National Central Bureau (NCB). They share information and have access to a variety of high-tech tools and resources.
She said that South Africa’s contribution to environmental impact management is being recognised. “We contribute at a strategic level and plan to strengthen linkages with other countries.
The role of the Advisory Board is to provide strategic direction and advice to Interpol at an executive level, to create a better global environment by sharing best practice with other environmental regulators on environmental compliance and enforcement; and to reduce environmental crime through active sharing of intelligence and enhancing the capacity of others to help combat crime.
“My eyes were opened more since I became part of the Advisory Board, and it made me realise that crime cuts across all countries in a similar way.
”It also made me realise the importance of working together, and that we need to combine our efforts in order to fight environmental crime more effectively across the world.”
Interpol leads joint investigations. For example, a rhino might be poached in South Africa, but the horn can end up in Asia.
Report waste dumping and environmental degradation
Craigie called on the public to volunteer information about environmental impacts, and of any suspicious activities.
“Environmental law enforcement officers cannot be everywhere all the time. The community is our eyes and ears, and we need them to fight environmental crimes, including those related to waste and pollution; wildlife and biodiversity; as well as oceans and coastal matters.
“We can also make a difference in our daily lives by reducing waste and litter, and keeping rivers clean. Our environment is everybody’s responsibility.”
Frances Craigie lives in Johannesburg. Her favourite book is ‘Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime’, by Val McDermid. She likes to listen to Pink, and Jason Mraz. Her role model is Nelson Mandela.
- Report environmental incidents and crimes on the 24 hour hotline 0800 205 005.
Sources: DEA. Environment Quarterly 26; Beatrice Makgwale. Showme.
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