WINDHOEK, Namibia – The 13th annual general meeting of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO) has welcomed INTERPOL’s Global Security Initiative (GSI) which has set capacity building of police in Africa as one of its primary objectives. The police chiefs also reaffirmed their commitment to joint cross-border initiatives designed to combat transnational crime.
The two-day meeting – bringing together police chiefs from the 13 SARPCCO region countries (Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) – heard INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble say in opening remarks that crime in the Southern Africa region like elsewhere in the world continues to be greatly affected by organized transnational criminal groups outside the region.
'I consider it a key task of INTERPOL, the world’s global police organization, to demonstrate to police chiefs and heads of law-enforcement agencies worldwide that a global and integrated approach is vital to combat 21st century crime. It is for that reason that we are launching our Global Security Initiative to ensure that all of our important activities come together coherently and efficiently to support the police in our member countries,' he said.
He congratulated the SARPCCO Chiefs of Police for integrating SARPCCO in the Southern African Development Community – a body dedicated to enhancing development in the region – which he said testified to the importance of their global role and demonstrated the region’s vision in placing law enforcement within a broader perspective.
As part of its GSI, the conference heard that through generous funding from Germany, INTERPOL is now undertaking OASIS (Operational Assistance Services and Infrastructure Support) to help SARPCCO countries and others in Africa develop a global and integrated approach to fighting 21st century crime by enhancing the capacity of INTERPOL member countries to address crime threats nationally, regionally and globally. Eventually, the OASIS model will be spread to all of INTERPOL’s regions.
'OASIS is not about INTERPOL delivering a ready-made package. It is about INTERPOL helping police and law enforcement agencies acquire the tools and skills they need in order to increase their capacity to work with colleagues in neighbouring countries as well as all around the world,' Mr Noble said.
African police will be the first to join forces with INTERPOL to turn this new strategy into a reality on the continent and help shape a model which INTERPOL sees as benefiting other regions of the world through enhanced human and technical capacities, more efficient operations and greater long-term objectives in fighting criminal networks.
Mr Noble cited the recent deployment of an INTERPOL team to Guinea-Bissau following its seizure of a plane that landed with evidence that it contained a large shipment of cocaine from South America. When Guinea-Bissau requested INTERPOL’s help to perform forensic expertise, INTERPOL secured the assistance of drug detector dogs from the Portuguese National Police and delivered communication devices seized from the aircraft to the French National Police for forensic examination.
He said that OASIS would help the region build a network of its own experts and resources available to assist other countries in the region.
In addition to SARPCCO, other African regional police chiefs bodies include CAPCCO (Central African Police Chiefs Committee), EAPCCO (Eastern African Police Chiefs’ Co-operation Organization), and WAPCCO (West African Police Chiefs Committee).