LYON, France – A historic meeting between INTERPOL and top law enforcement leaders from across the African continent saw participants jointly pledge to boost police data exchanged between African countries and internationally.
The joint recommendation was endorsed by the Secretary General of INTERPOL as well as the heads of the Arab Interior Ministers Council (AIMC), AFRIPOL, and the Chairpersons of four African regional police chief cooperation organizations:
- The Central African Police Chiefs Organization (CAPCCO);
- The Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Organization (EAPCCO);
- The Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO); and
- The West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO).
In the document, the participants pledge to coordinate in the push towards further digitalizing criminal data in Africa, avoiding duplication and continuing to build synergies between INTERPOL and AFRIPOL.
“The African continent is a driving force for policing transformation and – as INTERPOL reaches its centenary – member countries in this region will play a crucial role in shaping the next 100 years of this organization,” said INTERPOL President Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, who opened the meeting.
The first of its kind, the meeting also saw participants pledge to regularly gather in this format to coordinate work at the decision-making level and support police forces across Africa.
To think as one
“Crime has evolved, but so has policing,” INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said during the meeting. As the twin trends of globalization and digitalization have transformed the crime landscape in past decades, the global police architecture has developed in response.
New specialized agencies and regional police networks have emerged, with officers relying on the online exchange of police data more than ever. The first joint INTERPOL-AFRIPOL operation earlier this year saw INTERPOL databases being queried more than six million times, resulting in some 400 hits and nine people flagged who were subject to Red Notices.
The increase in available police data, and a global security architecture that has grown progressively more complex, have led to calls from police leaders for greater data interoperability and cooperation between countries and international police bodies.
“It is essential for us to think as one – with a single common plan where each of the organizations we lead has a clear, distinctive role,” said Secretary General Stock, warning against the “duplication” and “loss of critical data” that insufficient cooperation can engender.
“The failure to adequately share criminal information with INTERPOL’s databases contributes immensely to a situation where a criminal can get away undetected with their crimes,” said INTERPOL Vice-President for Africa Garba Baba Umar.
The meeting comes on the heels of INTERPOL’s 17th Heads of NCB meeting, where top police officials from the organization’s 195-country membership adopted, among others, a conclusion to enhance the compatibility of national police data with INTERPOL systems.
“Ultimately, our common work has only one objective,” said Secretary General Stock in his closing remarks to African leaders. “Helping frontline officers make the fastest and more accurate decisions on the ground.”