Pompidou Group - Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs

The main objective of this Group, which comprises customs and law enforcement officers from 36 countries, is to develop and harmonise tools and systems to improve drug detection in European airports.

Meeting once a year, the group primarily acts as a forum for the exchange of practical information on problems and operational practice. It has also increasingly developed specific projects thereby deepening the level of co-operation among drug control services.
• Annual reviews of the development of drug seizures at airports

• Setting up of rapid alert systems on drug detection

• Regular updates of information on the Passenger Control Handbook

• Regular updates of the Handbook on carrying out checks on general aviation

• Collection and analysis of airport crime figures

• Development of an Airport Crime Risk Register

• Exploration of measures against drug exports

• Comparison of new technologies in drug detection

• Examination of appropriate passenger data collection systems • Analysis of the potential for criminal activities generated by general aviation

• Regular update of the Directory of Drug Control officials at European airports (“Airports brochure”)

• Regular updates of the Directory of National Contact officers in General Aviation (“General aviation brochure”)
Recent work
An annual drug seizure review
Annually the Group reviews drug seizures at European Airports, with special focus on aspects concerning general aviation, controlled deliveries, West African links and low cost carriers. This analysis is carried out by the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office of the World Customs Organization. It is established on the basis of available information on drug seizures reported by customs services (and in certain cases police services).
Lately, it decided to look more closely into the drug trafficking situation in the new member States or observer countries. At the annual meeting the countries concerned explain in detail the modalities of their risk analysis and their recent seizures.
Furthermore, it also examines cash-flows originating in drug-trafficking seized at airports and the concealment methods used.

Joint operational activities The Airports Group promotes the undertaking of multilateral drug seizure operational activities among its member States. The results of some of these operations are presented in the plenary and discussed among practitioners.

International couriers
The Group examines their profile on the basis of a study undertaken in Portugal during the years 1999 to 2006. This study was triggered by the fact that the numbers of foreign prisoners were increasing and that over 50% of them were arrested for drug trafficking. It showed that current drug couriers have a different profile from drug couriers in the 90’s: social status, motives, crime history, personal risk factors are very different from one to the other. It proved impossible to define common denominators - underlining the added value of this criminological research on drug smugglers, in particular with regard to successful profiling.

Traffic and profiling
The Airports Group members share information on the trafficking danger represented by West African countries and its influence on the European crime scene as well as about increasing land seizures in West Africa and container seizures in Europe and the secondary distribution routes in Europe via Spain and Portugal.
It also deals with chemical profiling and the methodology of backtracking investigations with a view to prepare criminal charges in cases of drug-trafficking. In the area of precursor trafficking, it examined the results of seizures made on transports from Europe to countries of South America and Africa

Controlled deliveries
The Group considers that they constitute a very effective tool in the fight against smugglers networks. Problems may arise, where independent magistrates have to grant prior authorisation. Therefore representatives of the judiciary involved in the decision-making process on controlled deliveries in the member States will be invited to take part in the debate with the aim to identify common solutions for existing obstacles in the smooth setting-up of a controlled delivery.

Access to Personal data
Initiatives have been taken at European level to give to law enforcement agencies access to personal data in the passenger name record drawn up by airlines. The platform transmitted its concerns to the European Council.
The documents produced by the Airports platform of the Pompidou Group are classified as confidential and are therefore not available for the public.

suite Access to the restricted website of the Airports Group (only with password)