An invisible problem
Poor quality of data on environmental crime and offences
Typing errors, records entered under different names and inconsistent address details are hampering the enforcement of environmental regulations at businesses that work with large quantities of hazardous materials. The data in the two systems used by supervisors and enforcement officers, Inspectieview and the Criminal Records Register, are of poor quality. As a result, it often cannot be determined from the data which inspection results belong to which business. Supervisors accordingly have difficulty understanding how environmental regulations have been observed over the years.
What did we audit?
As part of a wider audit of the effectiveness of the approach to environmental offences and crime, we looked at the two data systems used by supervisors and enforcement officers. Our findings are set out in the first report on our audit. The second report will be published in June 2021. It will consider the enforcement of environmental regulations at 500 businesses that work with large quantities of hazardous materials.
What are our recommendations?
In our opinion, there is a serious but invisible problem that has tangible consequences. We therefore recommend that the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management and the Minister of Justice resolve the problems with Inspectieview and the Criminal Records Register as quickly as possible. A better understanding must be gained of how the supervision and criminal enforcement system works. As serious environmental risks are at issue, we believe the lack of understanding is irresponsible.