The Malta Independent 16 November 2018, Friday

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Customs Union

Tuesday, 11 September 2018, 15:38 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Malta Customs Department is celebrating 50 years of the Customs Union.

In a statement, the department said it strives to excel in the continuously changing environment which is shaped by globalization and trade. The Department has for long been active in facilitating trade whilst also ensuring that both the fiscal and security interests of Malta and the EU are safeguarded.

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In recent years the Customs Department of Malta, has been hard at work making sure that all  its different aspects meet and even exceed the standards of other Customs entities around Europe. This is why the 2017/2019 Business Strategy was drawn up and, to date, the Department keeps reaching milestone after milestone.

The Malta Customs Canine unit

The Department has been employing new tools and resorting to innovative strategies to counteract the growing criminal activities. We witnessed the introduction of the ZBV scanner, the Nuctech x-ray equipment, the new scanning facility, and the relocation of the Enforcement Section to a bigger and better equipped location. Now the Department is happy to launch the its newest Section, the Canine Unit.

The Canine Unit was the missing piece of the puzzle. Together with experts in the field from Malta and the UK and funding through the EU Hercule III Programme, the Customs Department has succeeded  in creating this Section from scratch, providing a qualified Instructor and eight canine teams, composed of expertly trained handlers with their canines, with professional training being provided from a well-established leading canine training centre in the UK. This was complemented with all the necessary tools for the canine teams to learn and excel in the field.

The dogs have been trained to spot narcotics, large amounts of money, and tobacco, all of which hamper the safety and fiscal interests of the Block. Thanks to this new Unit, the Enforcement function will be benefiting from better targeting and an improved success rate during searches.  Without the need of intrusive measures, this new element within Malta Customs will lead to the tracking of undeclared goods and tax fraud, and also to the tracing of narcotics as they enter the country's borders.

To ensure the success of this Section, the Department is investing in the construction of a new state-of-the-art Canine Unit Center, which, apart from serving for kennel purposes, will also include a resource center and training facilities for the Unit itself.

During the past three years the Department took the initiative to focus heavily on communication, an element which, in today's society, is a key focal point for any business or entity.

The Department was rebranded in a bid to project a new image and to change the perception of the public. New means of media were disseminated across the publishing houses and press, to better represent the Department. Press releases have been published more frequently, thus having the Customs Department mentioned positively in the press five times more frequently than in any other year of operation.

During the 2017 ECNtc meetings, the Malta Customs Department Communication representative was selected to form part of the 50th Customs Union Anniversary Committee. The project put forward by Malta was selected to celebrate the Customs Union anniversary, and today we are proud to announce the unveiling of this project for the first time.

The Malta Customs Department Mobile video game.

This is the first Mobile Video Game developed by a Customs entity and has the sole purpose to educate the users in an entertaining manner. This game celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Customs Union, which is perhaps the best example of unity in the Union. As so, this game will be distributed across all the member states of the EU and will be promoted by the Commission as the key communication project for the event. Youngsters, as well as adults, will now have a clearer picture of what Customs represents and what the Department does behind the scenes.

The Malta Customs Department will always continue to adapt to the changing world, and whatever the challenge, the Department always manages to succeed.

 

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