The involvement of the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police in drug abuse control
Author: F. MAZZONE
Pages: 51 to 53
Creation Date: 1991/01/01
The involvement of the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police in drug abuse controlF. MAZZONE Chairman, Operations Research Committee, International Association of Airport and Seaport Police, Pikesville, Maryland, United States of America
The International Association of Airport and Seaport Police is an international organization comprised of law enforcement agencies. Its responsibility is to enforce criminal law at airports and seaports, ensuring that those facilities are not used for illicit activity. The Association was established in March 1970 to satisfy a long-standing need to improve coordination and communication among security agencies of the world's major commercial ports and facilities. Programmes have been developed and implemented that contribute to reducing the incidence of drug smuggling and related criminal activity. The Association stands ready to assist its members, as well as others involved in dealing with illicit drug activity.
The goal of the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police is to promote the exchange of information among law enforcement agencies concerned with violations of criminal law at seaports and airports, while ensuring the safe and secure transportation of persons and cargo. The Association has established committees on international narcotics, training and research that develop and implement programmes to combat illicit drug trafficking and related criminal activities.
Although the Association targets the supply side of the drug control effort as a non-governmental association, it also has an obligation to assist in the reduction of the demand for illicit drugs. It has participated in United Nations meetings and programmes and has made other contributions in that area. Association members have participated in the development of demand reduction programmes in their countries, focusing on the changing patterns of drug abuse among high-risk groups. Those programmes are largely educational and emphasize the consequences of and positive alternatives to drug abuse.
The treatment and rehabilitation of drug-dependent persons is an important area of involvement of the law enforcement agencies that are Association members.
The use of illicit drugs occurs in many places, including airports and seaports. When those responsible for the transportation of cargo and passengers are under the influence of narcotics, a dangerous condition exists.
Association members have identified a significant number of drug abusers in the workplace and have witnessed accidents that have resulted in a large number of deaths and serious injury. The Association has recommended that its members screen all prospective police employees to ensure that they themselves are not drug users. Moreover, it has been recommended to Association members that procedures should be further developed to ensure that their staff members are drug free. It is the view of the Association that, by having programmes that ensure a drug-free workforce, it will encourage others, especially those responsible for the transportation of passengers and cargo, to implement similar programmes.
Perhaps the most significant contribution the Association and its members have made to drug abuse control is their activities targeting the supply side of the problem. One of the most prevalent forms of illegal activity at airports and seaports, as well as the transportation systems that support them, is the illegal smuggling, transportation, possession and, to an alarming degree, use of drugs by personnel.
Illicit drugs are, for the most part, .transported through international airports and seaports. They are also transported within a given country from one jurisdiction to another. Thus the drug problem is both international and multi-jurisdictional in scope. That in itself poses a great barrier to the effective control of the supply of illegal drugs. To combat the problem, the Association and its members have developed an effective programme for coordinating international and multi-jurisdictional law enforcement action.
Association members meet at least once each year to discuss these programmes and to exchange information concerning the patterns, trends, methods etc. used by the manufacturers, smugglers, transporters and distributors of illicit drugs. They have developed and participated in programmes with the International Criminal Police Organization. They have also developed and implemented information-sharing systems, including an index file, to ensure the coordination of information on illicit drug activities.
Furthermore, Association members have developed and organized work- shops and training programmes through the narcotic and training committees of the Association. The programmes offer members up-to-date information on illicit drug activity. The Association distributes to its members a news bulletin that includes information on trends, patterns and methods currently being used by criminal elements involved in such activity.
Through its Operations Research Committee, the Association has collected and analysed information and has prepared special reports on controlling the supply of illicit drugs. Special training and operational programmes have been developed and offered to its members. One Association member has offered special drug detection training and resources to other members. As a result, new, innovative programmes for the interdiction of drug smuggling have been put into operation in various countries that had not been able to develop them on their own.