Merger of Financial and Customs police forces confirmed

Latvia's parliament, the Saeima, finally adopted amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law  September 28 that will see the merger of the Revenue Service’s Finance Police and the Customs Police.

The amendments were adopted by 66 votes to 20. The votes against the amendments came mainly from the Unity party group in parliament.

In June Saeima passed draft amendments to the law on the State Revenue Service enabling the merger of the Revenue Service’s Finance Police and Customs Police.

The new Tax and Customs Police is due to start work under the State Revenue Service on January 1, 2018.

The merger of the two agencies is intended to reduce the number of investigative services, ensure more efficient work at the State Revenue Service, as well as streamline and centralize the State Revenue Service’s structural units tasked with investigating tax and customs-related offenses. In the past it has sometimes been the case that different investigators saw their inquiries overlap or assume one was the responsibility of another.

Earlier the draft amendments caused disagreements over the supervision of the Revenue Service’s Internal Security Service. While Unity party wanted the Internal Security Service to work under the supervision of the Interior Ministry, Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Greens/Farmers) proposed to put the Revenue Service’s head in charge. Later, however, Reizniece-Ozola withdrew her proposal.

Under the new legislation, the Internal Security Service and the Tax and Customs Police will each have its own head reporting directly to the Revenue Service’s director general.

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