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West African police chiefs committee meet on trans-border crime collaboration
l-r_ Representative of the Interpol,Kedji Abbe, DCP, Selem Amachree, Col. Ollo Alain Pale, representing, C. PAPS

Abuja, 11th September 2018. The two-Day Technical Sub – Committee meeting on Training and Operation of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) got underway in Abuja, Nigeria on the 11th of September 2018.

Among others, the meeting is deliberating on effective coordination of operational police activities in the region with a view to reinforcing regional capacities to effectively combat transnational organized crime.

Welcoming participants to the meeting, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), General Francis Behanzin, noted that crime and criminality have continued to pose a big threat to lives and property thereby creating an unconducive environment for meaningful development.

This he said is being made worse by the “fast evolution of information technology” which has further sophisticated the platforms and tactics used by criminal networks against their targets and victims while proceeds from transnational organized crime are increasingly used to perpetuate acts of terrorism, destabilization of governance structures through corruption of officials, law enforcement agents and Judicial officers at all levels.

Cross section of Delegates from ECOWAS member States during opening ceremony in Abuja, 11th September 2018
Group photograph of the WAPCO sub-Technical Committee on Training and Operations. Abuja, 11th September 2018

Speaking through the Head, ECOWAS peace support operations Colonel Ollo Alain Pale, Commissioner Behanzin pointed out that security and law enforcement agents have for so many years focused on terrestrial, aerial and maritime borders as key points for close surveillance against transnational crime.

He stressed that even though reasonable progress has been made in tightening security, the “dynamic availability and capacity” of cyberspace which transcends geographical borders gives a somewhat more efficient, faster and safer leverage for criminals to operate.

The scenario according to the Commissioner, “mandates us to increase our capacities on the fight against transnational border crime of all forms which includes training and operational tactics”

Stressing that “criminal intelligence and information sharing is key to the effective fight against transnational organized networks and activities” the Commissioner submitted that efforts employed at the national levels are therefore not sufficient to contain transnational criminality except such efforts are strengthened by increased regional and global exertions.

Addressing participants during the opening ceremony, Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) Idris Ibrahim disclosed that in tandem with best practices, community and intelligence-led policing have been brought to the fore under his watch.

Represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police Salem Vincent Amachree, the IGP stressed that the Nigerian Police Force has made breakthroughs in crime detection as a result of robust collaboration, information sharing and intelligence cooperation between the International Police Organization (INTERPOL) and police services in West Africa.

The Nigerian police boss noted that the security challenges of farmer-herders conflict, stolen vehicles, illicit drug peddling/human trafficking together with terrorism and armed robbery have cross border colouration underscoring the need for persistent cooperation and collaboration among ECOWAS Member States.

In his remarks, the head, INTERPOL regional Bureau for West Africa Kedji Marcellin Abbe lamented that nowadays trans-national criminal groups are constantly adapting flexible networks, whose structure is easy to set up and which change the type of traffic in terms of detection risks and to reap the maximum profits, they supplant the traditional hierarchical structure in the security systems.

In view of this however, he disclosed that INTERPOL is devising strategies to constantly be on top of the situation.

“We believe that in each of our countries, we now have to deepen reflections so as to have trainings and police operations for our officers in order to combat trans-national crimes”

He added

Participants at the Abuja meeting drawn from the pool of police officers from Member States, ECOWAS personnel, INTERPOL representatives and other relevant law enforcement agencies are also expected to adopt a reporting format and timeline for Crime Statistics reporting to WAPCCO Secretariat.

In 2001 ECOWAS Heads of State and Government created the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) as a consultative body for regional Police cooperation with the principal objective of creating a forum that would strengthen the fight against trans national crime; facilitate the development of a regional strategy against crime trends through proper coordination and to encourage joint activities of Member State Police forces in the fight against criminality.


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