Specialized training of law enforcement officers of The Gambia to enhance their capacity to detect and investigate cases of illicit trafficking and organized crime at border post areas.

West African countries face numerous obstacles which hinder the security and development of the region. Criminal networks have established themselves in the area exploiting the coastline and porous borders to conduct their criminal activities.

In this context, Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, UNODC Regional Director for West and Central Africa, stated: "This year's World Drug Report confirms that West and Central Africa is severely affected by the drug problem, with prevalence estimates for cannabis and pharmaceutical opioid use above global averages. Increasing seizures and keeping up the pressure on traffickers are efforts that need our full attention and resources."

This issue is of particular concern for the Gambian authorities who have expressed the need to strengthen the capacity of their border officials. To meet this need,  UNODC, in collaboration with the Drug Law Enforcement Agency of The Gambia (DLEAG), organized a five-day training in Banjul for law enforcement officers posted at the borders on September 19-23, 2022.

This activity brought together thirty-two participants from several law enforcement agencies including the Gambia Police Force (GPF), Interpol, the Gambia Immigration Department (GID), the Drug Law Enforcement agency and Customs to strengthen interagency cooperation. The training was conducted by national trainers from DLEAG and Customs who benefited from a UNODC Training of Trainers (ToT) program and had to carry out a transfer of knowledge session, highlighting the skills needed to effectively  detect and investigate cases of illicit trafficking and organized crime at border entry points, as well as to provide participants with a platform for discussion and to brainstorm on techniques to intercept cases of organized crime.

During this training session, practical exercises were carried out thus allowing participants to experience different forms of interviewing/surveillance and intelligence gathering techniques in order to establish best practice in various contexts.

The participants stressed the usefulness of this practical and interactive training to deepen their knowledge, exchange best practices in detecting and investigating cases of illicit trafficking and organized crime and strengthen inter-agency cooperation at border areas to combat effectively and efficiently organized crime in the region.