NETCOP – a European cooperation project between police in West and Central Africa in which Spain and France will work with their counterparts
Joint Operational Partnerships (JOPs) and Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) are teams made up of European law enforcement bodies that work as mentors with their counterparts in West and Central Africa. In 2017, the European Union created a fund to tackle some of the most common illicit trafficking in the region. These teams have the support of at least two European countries and work in the fight against human trafficking and smuggling.
Dakar hosted the first operational meeting at which the NETCOP project was officially presented, the general objective of which is to establish a network between JOPs and JITs in West and Central Africa.
During the meeting, information was exchanged on where each country is in the fight against human trafficking and smuggling. Both JITs and JOPs work on the ground as mentors, collaborating with local investigative units and providing organisational, strategic and operational aspects of the fight against migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
The event was opened by Spain’s General Commissioner for Immigration and Borders and the director of the French Border Police Central Directorate. Both attended the meeting via videoconference and underlined the commitment of the European Union in the fight against the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings with the addition of this project, which will reinforce and complement the action that is already being taken in the region.
The meeting also saw the participation of the JOPs of Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Gambia and the Ivory Coast and the JITs created in Niger and Mauritania, as well as the National Division for the Fight against Trafficking, dependent on the Senegalese Border Police Directorate (DPAF), the French Directorate for International Cooperation (DCI) and the Spanish General Commissariat for Immigration and Borders (CGEF), as well as representatives from FIIAPP and CIVIPOL.
Multilateral cooperation, the sharing of operational information, its centralisation and analysis will strengthen the strategic analysis of migration in the region, allowing a more precise approach to the challenges that must be faced and a more effective fight against the criminal networks at work.
For two years, France and Spain will work in West and Central Africa on this project, which has European funding and seeks to create a network that will make it possible to fight more effectively against trafficking and smuggling of migrants.