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07 October 2013

INTERPOL meeting sets course for police information exchange in West Africa

BRUSSELS, Belgium – In the framework of the West African Police Information System (WAPIS), INTERPOL held a meeting to discuss the results of the programme’s recently completed planning phase and prepare for the implementation of the system in the pilot countries.

Held in Brussels, Belgium on 3 and 4 October, the event brought together representatives from four of the five the WAPIS pilot countries (Benin, Ghana, Mali and Niger; Mauritania was unable to attend), the President of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO), the Head of the INTERPOL Regional Bureau in Abidjan, and representatives of the European Commission, the European External Action Service, INTERPOL and CIVIPOL, the consultancy agency of the French Ministry of the Interior. The purpose of the meeting was to present the results of the planning phase of the WAPIS Programme and introduce the final product, a master plan which will set the course for the implementation.

Bredou M’Bia, the President of WAPCCO and Director General of the Police of Côte d’Ivoire, said the WAPIS Programme follows the spirit of the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, run alone; if you want to go far, go together”. He also emphasized the political commitment from all West African states towards the success of WAPIS for fighting crimes affecting the region.

During the meeting, participants shared information about the activities which have taken place in each of the pilot countries during the planning phase, which began in September 2012, and discussed the overall results achieved, including the formation of a training plan, the integration of communications technologies and the creation of national WAPIS committees.

Looking ahead to the implementation phase, the delegates reviewed upcoming activities such as the setting up of police information archiving systems and the formalization of the WAPIS national committees. This has already been accomplished in Niger, through the issuance of a ministerial decree.

The representative of the funding institution, Adriaan van der Meer, Head of Unit, Instrument for Stability and Nuclear Safety of the European Commission for Development and Cooperation, said the meeting offered an opportunity to take a step back and reflect on the accomplishments achieved so far.

INTERPOL’s Special Representative to the European Union, Pierre Reuland concluded that the unique partnership between the European Union, INTERPOL and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must be emphasized and he congratulated the participants on the results achieved so far during the first phase of the WAPIS programme.

Funded by the European Union and implemented by INTERPOL in collaboration with ECOWAS, the WAPIS Programme aims to create a national and regional infrastructure for police information exchange in West African countries.