On 27 April, a Briefing Paper from RUSI analyses the possible criminal risks posed by the UK’s future freeports – which the current government appears keen on introducing post-Brexit. The Paper says that the misuse of freeports in other countries for drug trafficking, trade in counterfeits, money laundering and a vast array of other crimes has drawn the attention of key international stakeholders, including FATF, OECD and WCO. The European Parliament has gone so far as to call for the abolition of freeports in the EU. The Paper makes a number of recommendations relating to –
- the need to assess existing criminal risks in the geographical locations where freeports will be established;
- the need for proportionate responses to the risk profile and volume of activity taking place in freeports;
- the possibility that the envisaged ‘light-touch’ authorisation procedures for businesses will make it difficult to assess the risks they pose; and
- the need for regular review of the effectiveness of Freeport Operators (who would actually run the freeport) in discharging their security-related responsibilities.
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