ECOWAS Police Chiefs recommend operations against transnational crimes
West African Police Chiefs ended a three-day meeting in Lome, Togo last Friday recommending a number of Police Operations against transnational crimes, including illegal circulation of small and light weapons, drug and human trafficking, and vehicle theft.
A statement from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission said the meeting, the first of two preparatory meetings ahead of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) General Assembly in June 2012, also urged national authorities of seven countries selected for the anti-crime operations to support the exercises and ensure their successful implementation.
Ghana, Togo and Benin police would be involved in the pilot operation against drug trafficking, while Niger and Nigeria will organize anti-small arms and light weapons operation, with anti-vehicle theft exercise programmed for Cote d’Ivoire and human trafficking exercise in Burkina Faso.
The statement urged ECOWAS Member States to intensify efforts to educate national stakeholders on law enforcement, based on INTERPOL tools and ECOWAS legal instruments on security.
Furthermore, ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania were urged to provide the INTERPOL Abidjan Regional Office with Specialized Officers to enable it to commence operations and facilitate regional police operations, while WAPCCO Permanent Secretariat should liaise with the INTERPOL Regional Office to receive, analyze and exchange information on criminal trends in the region.
The statement also urged WAPCCO to initiate, in collaboration with the Central African Police Chiefs Committee (CAPCCO), the organization of a meeting of Technical Sub-committees of the two Committees with a view to discussing issues of common interest and laying the groundwork for the signing of a cooperation agreement between the two regions on criminal matters.
National authorities of ECOWAS Member States should also take measures to ensure that various Criminal Police Cooperation agreements were effectively implemented, the meeting recommended.
The meeting attended by Police Chiefs of ECOWAS Member States, as well as ECOWAS Commission officials and representatives of INTERPOL, discussed challenges of policing in West Africa, including Crime Trends, Joint or Simultaneous Police Operations and Joint Operations on Drugs, as well as the implementation of recommendations of the INTERPOL international and regional meetings by West African countries.