UNODC-INTERPOL-WCO Airport Communication Programme
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) have joined forces along with twenty-four countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean in the design and execution of the Airport Communication Programme (AIRCOP). Funded by the European Commission and supported by Canada, AIRCOP is a multi-agency, anti-trafficking initiative which strengthens detection, interdiction and investigative capacities of participating airports in illicit drug source and transit countries. The overall objective is to disrupt the illegal networks that are disseminating drugs and other illicit products through smarter, more effective, well-connected, intelligence led counter-narcotic activities.
Operational units working at airports in source, transit and destination countries are connected to each other via a secure communication network, CENComm, which is hosted by the World Customs Organization (WCO), and facilitates the exchange and use of law enforcement data in a timely, reliable and secure manner between international counterparts.
The units are also provided with direct access to INTERPOL's tools and databases via the INTERPOL I-24/7 system. I-24/7 is a global police communication system that permits authorized users to share sensitive and urgent police information with their counterparts around the globe 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is the network that enables investigators to access INTERPOL's range of criminal databases. Thanks to these tools, authorized users can search and cross-check data in a matter of seconds.
Finally, and in partnership with participating agencies and utilizing globally sourced expertise, AIRCOP oversees carefully designed up-skilling and mentoring programmes to provide long-term capability enhancement and ensure an exchange of international best practices related to the detection and investigation of drug-related criminal networks.
The concrete results expected from this initiative are the following:
- Improved communication between participating agencies through the World Customs Organization's secure, closed group, multi-lingual communication tool (CENComm) via Alert, Seizure and Feedback messages available in six languages (English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish) to facilitate the easy sharing of vital data on suspects and known criminals;
- Direct access to international criminal databases, alerts and analytical tools through the INTERPOL I-24/7 system via warnings and analysis tools in order to permit a comprehensive analysis of nominal data, documents, telephone numbers and identification material;
- Maximized exploitation of the variety of data available to the different agencies involved in airport security, including booking data and passenger manifest information, bringing this information together to be put to use of one multi-agency team;
- Enhanced skill base via advanced up-skilling and mentoring programmes that lead the field in methods and techniques of risk analysis, drug detection, search methodology, interrogation and criminal network investigation;
- Provision of necessary equipment to support operational drug detection teams;
- Establishment of secure and direct connections between the vetted units in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Asia;
- Coordinated joint international operations to test the system, build and firmly establish operational relationships and identify and dismantle criminal networks.