Documentary fraud control in West Africa: UNODC strengthens the capacity of Joint Airport Interdiction Taskforces

Documentary fraud is a key vector for illicit trafficking, threatening border control, and consequently the security of many countries. In this framework, AIRCOP ( UNODC's Airport Communication Project) organized a specialized training on documentary fraud control from 2 to 6 March 2015, in Dakar, Senegal, in collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency and French Border Police.

Bringing together 34 participants from 17 countries in the region, the training was opened by Ms. Anna Semou Faye, Director General of the Senegalese police, on behalf of the Minister of Interior of Senegal, who stressed the strategic importance of AIRCOP for the region. This event regrouped officials from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean for the first time since the programme's inception in 2010, in order to provide a common training to all relevant authorities.

Participants from the UNODC AIRCOP training on documentary fraud

In order to enhance the means to counter drug trafficking, the initiative has created a link between AIRCOP beneficiary countries and helped strengthen the coordination of their actions, particularly in the sharing of information between Joint Airport Interdiction Taskforces (JAITFs). Two high-level trainers from the Canadian and French border administrations presented the approaches to counter documentary fraud from both sides of the Atlantic, while also sharing best practices in the same occasion.

Since its creation, AIRCOP trained in West Africa alone 744 officers, including 118 women, through 44 trainings and field coaching missions. This enabled JAITFs to seize over 600kg of cocaine, 82kg of heroin, 240kg of methamphetamine, 377kg of cannabis and 1.5 tons of counterfeit medicines.

The training component is essential in the program. Agents receive an initial training and three tutorials, accompanied in the field by police and customs experts. The JAITFs also receive highly specialized trainings in targeting methods, questioning and behavioural analysis, inspection of luggage and parcels, air cargo and mail.

Implemented in partnership with the European Union, INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization, AIRCOP connects JAITFs to international law enforcement databases and networks, to allow real-time transmission of information to other airports. Funded by the European Union and co-funded by Canada, Norway and Japan, the project is part of the UNODC contribution to the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

For more information:

The UNODC Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP)

UNODC Contribution to the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel