The Spanish Guardia Civil Airport Detachment Military Police

Lt. Antonio J. Llamas Guerra
First published in
SFOR Informer#165, September, 2003

As a result of the withdrawal of the French Airport Detachment in December 2002 management of airport security was transferred to the local authorities. This gave the Bosnian authorities the management of safety and air transit for the first time since 1995. It is a major step in the normalization process of public institutions and services within Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The Spanish Guardia Civil Airport Detachment of the International Military Police (CAD IMP) contributes to this normalisation of Sarajevo International Airport.

Sarajevo - The Spanish Guardia Civil has represented SFOR as the AD IMP since February 2003. They were chosen to undertake this task as airport security as it is one of their jobs in Spain bringing to Sarajevo many years of experience.
The AD IMP carry out a variety of tasks from protection of VIPs transiting the airport to the supervision of the State Border Service (SBS) and Airport Security Service (ASS) when screening Military and Civilian SFOR personnel. The current Guardia Civil detachment is led by Lieutenant Antonio Llamas who is ably supported by 5 personnel. The team has a wealth of experience in other international missions as well as Airport Safety and Security. Corporal Tomás Cinza the Deputy of the section says "Our main activity is to supervise the security measures provided by the local authorities and assist them in their responsibilities since they were transferred from SFOR earlier this year".
Overcoming challenges
In the beginning there were some difficulties working with the State Border Service (SBS) and Airport Security Service (ASS), however, the professional and diplomatic manner, which the Guardia Civil has adopted, has "Created a joint respect between the SFOR and Airport staff creating an efficient and pleasant working relationship" said Lt. Llamas. Cpl Tomás Fernández outlines some of the problems faced by the team dealing with SFOR flights. "There are sometimes problems with passengers when they travel with SFOR because they believe that SBS has no right to scan them, they forget that Sarajevo is now an international airport and subject to the same rules as any other". He also points out that all the regulations concerning the management of security at the airport can be found at Annex D to CJ4 SOP 6250.
Knives and Ammo
Another common problem faced by the team is the carrying of ammunition, knives, and other Dangerous Air Cargo in their hand luggage. If the scanners at the security checks identify these items it is the responsibility of the ADMP to identify the owner confiscate the items, and place in a bag to be handed over to the crew of the aircraft. The items will be then be returned at the passenger's final destination.
The ADMP are part of a team consisting of the Airport Liaison Officer Flight Lieutenant Steve Wardle from the UK, Air Transport Office Staff from a variety of SFOR nations as well as the various National Representatives. The team must deal with up to 8 flights per day ranging from NATO Channel flights to VIPs travelling on business. The team has been accepted at the airport creating an excellent rapport between SFOR and the local authorities. It is hoped that this will continue in the future as the process of normalization within BiH continues.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Spain

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Photos: courtesy of the Guardia Civil

The Guardia Civil pose with patrol car in front of an RAF jet.


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Part of the routine security of searchin hand luggage once it has been through the scanner.


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A member of the Guadia Civil supervises one of the local security staff carrying out routine operations.