WCO 2012 Photo Competition winner

This year’s entries provide a wealth of historic and ‘yesteryear’ character in testimony to the traditional role of customs officers. I for one feel this portrayal is the more lasting impression that real customs officers will remember. While the modern border officer certainly has a lot more gizmo’s and sophisticated gadgetry at his/her disposal, it somehow offers little more than superficial value. Even the digital photographs of today require manipulation to introduce period artefacts or correction to create the desired result.

This years winning entry was submitted by Slovakia Customs. It depicts a fulltime customs officer of the Financial Guard on duty at the Klokočov road crossing point on the border between Slovakia and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, sitting with his young daughter on his lap.

The modern world’s seeming disdain of family values is in stark contrast to the natural warmth of a father and child in this picture. This would be unheard of in many jurisdictions of paranoia we call the customs and border control environment today. We grow evermore suspicious and untrusting of our fellow citizens to the danger that the essential purpose and physical portrayal of public service is an after-thought.

The WCO has put together a wonderful compendium of all this year’s entries. This is a competition not so much about a winner, but a celebration of the wealth and depth of customs tradition accross the globe. Click here to view all the entries!

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