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06 June 2013

INTERPOL workshop continues to advance police information exchange in West Africa

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire – The INTERPOL West African Police Information System (WAPIS) Programme held the fifth in a series of workshops which focused on the technological infrastructure necessary for the sharing of police information in West Africa.

The three-day meeting (4-6 June) at the INTERPOL Regional Bureau in Abidjan brought together some 20 representatives from the five pilot countries – Benin, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – INTERPOL, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Civi.Pol, the consultancy agency of the French Ministry of the Interior.

Building on the outcomes of previous meetings in Belgium, Benin, Mauritania and Nigeria, participants focused their discussions on information and communications technologies and how they should be used to integrate each country into WAPIS. The delegates created a detailed map of each pilot country indicating the existing information and communications technology infrastructure at the local and national levels, and discussed the rules to be applied to the use of the WAPIS system.  

The workshop was opened by Bredou M’Bia, Director General of the National Police of Côte d’Ivoire and President of the West African Police Chiefs Committee Organization (WAPCCO), who highlighted the need to increase awareness and cooperation to more effectively fight organized crime in the region.

Lieutenant Colonel Abdourahmane Dieng, Head of the Regional Security Division of ECOWAS, emphasized the value of the WAPIS system for law enforcement in the region.

“The programme is now entering its active phase in the pilot countries at a moment when transnational organized crime and international terrorism are starting to jeopardize our collective security,” said Mr Dieng.

Funded by the European Union and supported by ECOWAS, the INTERPOL WAPIS Programme aims to establish a regional police information system to improve the collection, analysis and sharing of police information within West Africa.