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 Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. 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 Abidjan, a two-week mentorship programme was provided by two experts, a French and a Senegalese customs officer, on-site at Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport. The mentorship followed a two-week theoretical training that was delivered in March to the 70 newly selected JAITF agents. The programme focused on strengthening techniques of targeting high-risk passengers, based on risk analysis and intelligence gathering. These enhanced skills led to immediate results, with an interception of a drug courier and the seizure of 50 ingested cocaine pellets, as part of a practical exercise conducted during the mentoring.