CRIMINOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF BORDER CRIME
The authoress indicates the main problems that appeared in Poland as a result of the opening of borders after the 1989 transition to a new economic and political system. Border crime, being one of them, is defined here as both illegal border crossing, customs and currency offenses, forgery of documents and crime against institutions. Among the internal grounds contributing to its growth, the closure or collapse of workplaces, state farms and industrial enterprises, especially along Poland's eastern border, and the consequent rise in unemployment should be mentioned. Another development has been a steep rise in the incidence of pathological phenomena among officials, such as forgery or falsification of documents, bribery or entry into the structures of criminal groups. Much more dangerous are the external factors driving border crime, such as steadily worsening economic decline in parts of the Middle East, Asia and the former Soviet Union as well as the rising unemployment and inflation in the countries concerned. Other causes are wars, national, ethnic and religious conflicts and the inadequacy of the technical protection of frontiers. The data illustrating border crime point to the continued persistence of threats from illegal immigration into Poland, smuggling of cars (mostly luxury models), stolen in West-European countries, into the former Soviet republics as well as continued smuggling, both by individuals and in organized forms (of considerable value per consignment), of liquor into Poland and of cigarettes bound for Poland and Germany. Intensification of attempts to corrupt the personnel (including senior officers) of watchtowers and border crossings is also confirmed. Preventive action and operational, surveillance and investigative measures aimed at improving the state of security and public order and detection and expulsion of foreign nationals who have entered Poland illegally are carried out in the border zone in collaboration with the police. At the same time the Border Guard maintains day-to-day liaison with its counterparts in other countries, in particular exchanging information about tasks, structures, jurisdictions, powers and problems relating to cross-border traffic and border crime. It is worth stressing that amendments to the Border Guard Act adopted in 2001 provide for its equipment with additional powers for combating corruption and bribes.
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