On Friday 1 October, Seraphin Ibouanga, Director of Cabinet of the Interior Minister in Gabon, presided over the inaugural ceremony of the Gabonese National Police Forces’ newly-created criminal intelligence analysis unit. Also present at the inauguration were Serge Ngoma, Commander-in-Chief of the Police Forces and Jean-Louis Forte, representative of the Ambassador of the European Union to the Gabonese Republic, as well as INTERPOL representatives.
The inauguration of this unit, based in Libreville, took place following several workshops organized by INTERPOL to strengthen the analytical capacity of Gabonese law enforcement, within the framework of the ENACT project.
Project ENACT (Enhancing Africa’s Response to Transnational Organised Crime) seeks to assist police in Africa to adopt proactive strategies to combat organized crime threats, facilitate information exchange and enhance investigative skills. It is funded by the European Union and implemented by INTERPOL and the Institute for Security Studies, in partnership with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.
Although the unit is housed within Gabon’s National Police Forces, it will be available to all national law enforcement and security departments and will therefore be a strategic tool to exchange key information and fight organized crime.
The analytical unit has access to INTERPOL databases and is therefore able to search INTERPOL databases in real time as part of its investigations. Databases are accessed via I-24/7, INTERPOL’s secure global police communications system. This technical network links law enforcement in all member countries and enables authorized users to share sensitive and urgent police information with their counterparts around the globe.
Through Project ENACT, INTERPOL provided the unit with several analytical software programmes and above all expertise, with the new analytical team benefiting from an ENACT tailor-made mentoring programme. On their side, the Gabonese authorities made an important financial commitment providing all the IT equipment. This investment from the Gabonese authorities demonstrates the country’s determination as well as the dynamic cooperation between INTERPOL and the National Police Forces.
The establishment of analytical units in Africa is a tangible and long-term objective of the ENACT project. This concrete approach has already proven to be effective as all four criminal analytical units already established (in Malawi, Uganda, Congo and Niger) have seen concrete results. Supporting the creation of additional criminal analytical units in other parts of the continent is essential to allow such expertise to fully become part of the policing methodology in Africa and effect long-term change in terms of African policing capacity.