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The Office of the Auditor General's investigation of border control in Norwegian Customs and Excise

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Summary

Background and objective of the audit

Border control in Norwegian Customs and Excise consists of checking freight, travellers and vehicles in order to expose smuggling. The agency's primary objective to prevent and counteract illegal import and export of goods is closely related to Norwegian Customs and Excise's societal protection role. According to the Government's action plan against financial crime from 2011, there has been a strong increase in freight and passenger traffic to and from Norway in recent years, and smuggling operations are characterised by increasing levels of professional organisation. Considerable volumes of freight, travellers and vehicles, as well as an extensive coastline and land border with a large number of border crossings, create challenges for border control.

The objective of the audit has been to assess goal attainment and efficiency in Norwegian Customs and Excise's efforts to prevent and counteract illegal import and export of goods through border control. The audit covers the period 2010–2013.

Findings and recommendations

Lack of prioritisation of efforts to uncover serious offences in order to combat organised crime
Low seizure volumes for many types of narcotics and currency

The OAG recommends that the Ministry of Finance and Directorate of Customs and Excise place greater emphasis on efforts to uncover serious offences in order to combat organised crime.

Staffing is only marginally adapted to increased traffic volumes during weekends and public holidays, and the agency lacks an overview of traffic through many unstaffed border crossings

The OAG recommends that the Directorate of Customs and Excise assess its general opportunities to better adapt its border control staffing to the actual traffic volume, and acquire more systematic knowledge as regards the traffic volume at its unstaffed border crossings as a basis for prioritising its control resources.

Significant regional variations in traveller controls

The agency and activity controls provide an inadequate basis for knowledge-based management of Norwegian Customs and Excise's border control in a number of areas

The OAG recommends that the Ministry of Finance and Directorate of Customs and Excise strengthen their work on analyses and evaluations aimed at efficiency and goal attainment in border control, thus improving the knowledge basis in agency and activity controls.

Weaknesses in key tools such as IT, control facilities, scanners and anonymous tip channels

The OAG recommends that the Ministry of Finance and Directorate of Customs and Excise assess their opportunities to improve control facilities at several border crossings, in an effort to ensure that the overall resources are utilised in a more efficient manner.

Ministry/ministries:

Riksrevisjonen, Storgata 16, P.O. Box 8130 Dep, 0032 Oslo, Norway

Phone: +47 22 24 10 00

Org.nr: 974 760 843