From 11 – 21 April 2023, as part of the AIRCOP support to the Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces (JAITFs) in West Africa, a mentorship programme was delivered in Praia, Cape Verde. AIRCOP aims to strengthen capacities at international airports to detect and intercept high-risk passengers and illicit commodities in origin, transit and destination countries. In order to achieve this AIRCOP supports JAITFs by providing mentorship activities which provide an opportunity for interactions between participants and a dedicated mentor encouraging on the job training, enhancing skill building and proactive learning. This model assists in increasing cooperation and improves participants competence in specific crime areas in order to fight organised crime threats.
In Praia, a Brazilian police officer provided a two-week mentorship program on-site at Nelson Mandela International Airport. The mentorship focused on strengthening proactive targeting based on risk indicators and intelligence, starting with two days of theory at the airport on drug trafficking via air, especially for the newly appointed agents of the JAITF. The agenda was created jointly by the expert and the head of the JAITF, based on their previous assessment of the task force’s needs, capacities, and in line with the objective of building management and leadership skills. The second week welcomed officers from the JAITF of Bissau (Guinea-Bissau) as part of an exchange visit between countries with similar characteristics in terms of trafficking trends. This cooperation is particularly relevant for strengthening joint work between JAITFs, exchanging experiences and lesson learned, particularly bearing in mind that the JAITF of Bissau recently made a large seizure of cocaine on a passenger going to Lisbon, which is the same destination of many of the Praia JAITF cases.