Additional preventative measures needed to reduce criminal opportunities
Francesco Calderoni is a researcher at Transcrime as well as an Assistant Professor at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. His areas of focus are organised crime, organised crime legislation, reforms of criminal procedure, crime proofing and social network analysis. He has participated in several projects involving European legislation against illicit trade in tobacco products.
15 November 2013
Francesco Calderoni spoke at the session entitled ‘Illicit Trade, Ireland and the International Perspective.’ Calderoni began by highlighting that the reduction of the opportunities is one of the modern proposals for combating the various forms of crime (including the organised one). It is complementary to penal control, often expensive and ineffective. It is widely accepted by international institutions dealing with the problem. Moving in this direction, Transcrime analyses the different types of trafficking, looking at the vulnerabilities of systems, which produce opportunities for criminals and pointing out possible remedies.
What responses are necessary?
An important point made by Calderoni was that it is necessary to know the effects produced by different policies in order to reduce both smoking and illicit trade. The illicit trade in tobacco products does nothing to reduce smoking rates, reduces the effectiveness of control policies, reduces government taxes and favours criminals’ participation in organised and terroristic groups. He went on to say that it is necessary to adopt additional preventive measures to reduce criminal opportunities – in regulation, in legal tobacco markets and amongst consumers. Calderoni noted the importance of focusing on ITTP in Ireland.
- ITTP increased in Ireland following taxation increases from 2007 to 2008.
- Ireland is primarily a destination for ITTP but it also a country of transit towards Northern Ireland and the UK.
- Ireland is the third out of 22 (Euromonitor) or fourth out of 27 (KPMG) EU countries for estimated prevalence of ITTP
Transcrime Factbook on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products
Transcrime produced an ITTP fact book focused on different countries and one in particular is focused on Ireland. The reports are organised by looking at five drivers of illicit trade. These are important areas whose structures may positively or negatively impact on ITTP. These five drivers are society and economy, the legal market, regulation, the crime environment and enforcement.
Calderoni talked about what can be done on the issue of illicit trade in Ireland. He brought up a number of areas where work can be done. There currently is no research on the demand for illicit tobacco products in Ireland. This would be useful for identifying the socio-economic characteristics and the reasons for illicit tobacco purchase. This could help build effective counter-strategies. There is also a lack of analysis on retailers at street market level. A study on their behaviours in relation to the selling of illicit tobacco would provide further information on suppliers behaviour. Calderoni recommended that the Revenue Commissioner provide more in depth research on illicit tobacco. Non-domestic and illegal cigarettes should be better distinguished. This would enhance the understanding of the structure of the illicit tobacco market.
Finally, further research on the application of the offences related to the illegal tobacco trade may assess whether they contribute to the low risk perception among ITTP smuggler. The mild penalties applied were not acting as a deterrent for smugglers.