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Practical workshop on the detection and deactivation of illegal drug-labs held in Serbia

In the framework of the Technical Assistance Facility, from 25th – 30th September, in the Teaching Center Mitrovo Polje, Vrnjacka Banja, Serbia the project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans organised the Workshop “Enhancing practical knowledge necessary for detection and deactivation of illegal laboratories for production of psychoactive substances and precursors” – second part. The workshop was attended by 22 members of police units (specific profiles – drug units, forensics) from Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Montenegro.

Growing trends in the detection of illegal laboratories for the production of synthetic psychoactive substances, precursors and cultivation of marijuana, the broader social context of drug use and smuggling among young people, as well as the threat to human life and health and environmental pollution require systematic responses in the Western Balkans. The specialized teaching center for detecting and deactivating illegal laboratories for the production of psychoactive substances and precursors established by the Ministry of the Interior Serbia, as the leading center of its kind in Europe, provides the best possible conditions for upgrading capacities of legal enforcement agencies in this field.

This system of practical and theoretical exercises provided the conditions needed to professionally capacitate and enable the Bosnian, Montenegrin and North Macedonian police officers to adopt the knowledge, acquire skills and standardise procedural approaches to detection of illicit laboratories for the manufacturing of psychoactive substances, as well as to planning of actions, entering, making arrests, safe dismantling of manufacturing units, conducting on-the-spot investigation and preserving the crime scene integrity in order to secure evidence, which constitutes the basis for efficient and effective work.

All participants of the second activity were awarded certificates for successful participation in the regional workshop. Together with the instructors and project representatives, participants once again had the opportunity to discuss further forms of cooperation at different levels, with the aim to a develop common and joint response to existence of illegal laboratories and drug smuggling in the region. It was agreed to further develop cooperation at operational and strategic level, to continuously share knowledge and exchange experience in this field.