The Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC), with the support of the UK Government, organized a practical regional training course to hone the skills and abilities of its staff and those of other law enforcement agencies in container handling.
The training will also help the 40 delegates from Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone who are taking part in the intensive four-day course to foster regional and inter-agency cooperation in maritime security.
The Search of Container Course, which started in Accra last Tuesday, is being led by officials from the UK Customs and Medicines Agency (UK) and will provide participants with in-depth knowledge on screening containers at points of entry into means that will allow them to detect contraband products, in particular illicit drugs.
The course content has been selected to respond to the evolving trend of illicit drug trafficking via containers, the areas covered being health and safety, container types and vulnerabilities, handling of seals and image interpretation .
The rest is about tendencies and mode of concealment, intelligence-based and rules-based targeting, insider threats and anti-corruption measures.
NACOC Acting Director General Mr. Kenneth Adu-Amanfoh commended the Governments of Ghana and the UK for organizing the training in Accra and for the law enforcement officers.
“Drug trafficking is a transnational organized crime that requires effective and efficient international collaboration to combat and dismantle complex international criminal syndicates,” he said.
He said West Africa had had its fair share of being continually exploited as a transit point for illicit drug trafficking from Latin America to Europe and North America.
He said it was therefore imperative that customs and port control officers be equipped with the skills and knowledge to profile and target suspicious shipments, including the expertise to examine and carry out drug seizures.
According to Mr. Adu-Amanfoh, the commission had, in September 2020, intercepted 152 kg of cocaine hidden in sugar containers from Brazil.
“After familiarizing with the course content, I am confident that at the end of this course, participants will be equipped with the required technical skills and know-how in seaport drug interdiction”, said- he declared.
He urged participants to pay attention and be open-minded to engage, learn and share their knowledge.
The British High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms. Harriet Thompson, expressed the hope that the participants would benefit from the training by applying what they had learned to make a difference in their respective programs in the sector.
She tasked the participants to apply what they would learn during the training to combat illicit drug trafficking in and around the West African sub-region.