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17 October 2012 - Media release

Effective policing can support economic development, Eastern African Police Chiefs meeting told

KAMPALA, Uganda – Integration with communities is essential for police to tackle crime more effectively and will in turn lead to economic growth, the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) heard at a meeting in Kampala.

Addressing top police officials from the 12 member countries – Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda – the Prime Minister of Uganda, Amama Mbabazi said ‘policing was still approached as if it were an end in itself rather than a means to facilitate and propel development.’

“The police force is an icon of discipline, not just an enforcer of law and order, and the forging of sustainable partnerships with basic institutions of society is most critical in efforts to prevent crime,” said Prime Minister Mbabazi.

“The task of the police therefore is not policing for the sake of it, but rather to eliminate crime and create a conducive environment for economic development to be realized,” concluded Mr Mbabazi.

Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said the cooperation between INTERPOL and EAPCCO provided a strong platform for building initiatives to address the many issues facing law enforcement across the region and to assist in protecting the communities they serve.

Mr Noble pointed to the recent success of Operation Hope, initiated and coordinated by the INTERPOL Regional Bureau in Nairobi, targeting three major crime areas: trafficking in human beings, drug trafficking and environmental crime.

Bringing together Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, and supported by the UNODC, UNEP, CITES, IOM, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force and the Kenya Wildlife Service, the three-day operation (13 – 15 September) involved more than 2,000 officers, saw more than 100 suspects identified or arrested, some USD 115,000 of illicit environmental products confiscated, 6,000kg of cannabis and 12kg of heroin and cocaine seized and more than 100 hectares of cannabis cultivation destroyed.

“These are the successes that can only be achieved by relying on the dedicated officers within the region, on true cooperation of local law enforcement and direct knowledge of the challenges faced by East Africa,” said the INTERPOL Chief.

In this regard, Mr Noble pointed to the INTERPOL Travel Document as a vital tool enabling the Organization to provide assistance whenever and wherever needed by member countries, and highlighted the significant support already shown by the region, with more than half the total number of countries which have already recognized the document worldwide coming from the African continent.

With maritime piracy remaining a key issue regionally and globally, Secretary General Noble pledged the Organization’s continued commitment, with support from partners such as the European Union, Norway and France. Earlier this year INTERPOL created its global database on Maritime Piracy to assist EAPCCO and all member countries investigate cases even more effectively, not only to successfully prosecute cases at the national level, but also to turn evidence into actionable intelligence internationally.