AU advancing to deploy AFRIPOL against transnational crime

AfripolThe headquarters of the African Union’s new police cooperation body against transnational crime, the African Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), has hosted a meeting for the first time since its inauguration in December 2015.

The Algerian headquarters of AFRIPOL, the AU’s incoming continental police cooperation organization, hosted a consultative meeting to brainstorm on the operationalisation of AFRIPOL in the immediate, medium and long term.

Present at the meeting were representatives of INTERPOL, EUROPOL and South East Asia’s ASEANAPOL as well as Chairs of regional police cooperation organizations in Africa.

The meeting was also to help explore modalities for information exchange between AU member states, AFRIPOL and similar police cooperation bodies.

In February 2014, directors and inspectors general of police from around the continent, made the Algiers Declaration on the establishment of AFRIPOL which was endorsed by the Executive Council of the AU in June 2014.

Algeria has since established the secretariat of AFRIPOL with the necessary office facilities which is ready for occupation while the AU finalizes the operating framework of AFRIPOL.

The establishment of AFRIPOL’s secretariat and the AU’s efforts to get it to commence operations, comes amidst rising threats of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa.

Dr Tarek Sharif, Head of Defence and Security Division at the AU’s Peace and Security Department was reported to have called for more cross-border policing as vulnerability to transnational crime will increase with Africa’s regional integration efforts.

“This scenario calls for the establishment and strengthening of robust law enforcement networks at bilateral, regional and global levels, to counter common threats faced in Africa and beyond. In this regard, AFRIPOL which will contribute to enhanced cooperation among Member States including with other existing continental structures and institutions like the ACSRT, regional cooperation mechanisms like the Nouakchott and Djibouti Processes and the Liaison and Fusion Centres is of necessity,” Dr Tarek Sharif was quoted as saying.

By Emmanuel Odonkor

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