All news
02 June 2014

INTERPOL chief joint mission to Guinea Bissau with UN Special Representative for West Africa focuses on law enforcement capacity

INTERPOL calls for support to help Guinea Bissau Turn Back Crime

BISSAU, Guinea Bissau – Identifying ways to support Guinea Bissau’s ongoing law enforcement capacity building efforts was the focus of INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble’s first mission to the country.

The head of the world police body travelled to Bissau with Said Djinnit, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General (SRSG) for West Africa and head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) as part of the ongoing cooperation between the two organizations under the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI).

Launched in 2009 this joint UNODC, UNOWA/DPA, DPKO and INTERPOL project supports the Regional Action Plan of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to address the growing problem of illicit drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa.

“The threats posed by organized crime to the safety and security of citizens in Guinea Bissau and throughout the region, require appropriate support and resources. This joint visit with INTERPOL Secretary General Noble demonstrates our shared commitment to stability in Guinea Bissau, West Africa and beyond,” said Mr Djinnit.

During meetings with senior policing and government officials, including Minister of Justice Mamadu Saidu Balde, high on the agenda was the recent opening of a new ‘model’ police station in the capital, the first in a series planned throughout the country.

A main component of these ‘new generation’ police stations is to encourage stronger relationships between law enforcement and the communities they service, and in this respect, Secretary General Noble outlined the upcoming INTERPOL Turn Back Crime campaign.

“The challenges facing law enforcement in West Africa are many and varied, from drug and human trafficking to environmental crimes,” said Secretary General Noble.

“The newly elected government of Guinea Bissau must make it a high priority to strengthen government institutions and implement the necessary budget strategy to pay law enforcement and other civil servants an appropriate salary.

“Many of the civil servants I have met during this mission, including staff at INTERPOL's National Central Bureau in Bissau have been working for the past five months without pay.  If we want to Turn Back Crime and help this country to develop and prosper, we need to find a way to recognize and pay law enforcement and other civil servants for their dedication and sacrifice,” added the INTERPOL Chief.

“As Guinea Bissau continues to develop its law enforcement capacity, INTERPOL stands ready to support them so that we can all play our part and help to Turn Back Crime,” said Secretary General Noble.

In addition to educating society about the ways in which crime affects our daily lives and to assist the public in protecting themselves, the Turn Back Crime campaign also encourages a more collaborative role between law enforcement, the private sector and citizens in crime prevention.

Guinea Bissau is the 181st country the INTERPOL Chief has visited since his first election in 2000, when he pledged to visit all 190 member countries in order to learn first-hand the policing needs for enhanced international law enforcement cooperation.

During the mission, Secretary General Noble and SRSG Djinnit also met with the Head of INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Bissau, Public Prosecutor Martinho Seco Saliu Camara and his staff.

One of the cornerstones of the WACI is the establishment of a Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) in each country to act as national focal points. Close cooperation with INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs), and use of the world police body’s secure police communications system I-24/7, is a core feature of the TCU concept.

Guinea Bissau is one of 14 countries taking part in a Norwegian government-funded INTERPOL study on fisheries crime in West Africa under the Organization’s Project Scale, a global initiative to detect, suppress and combat fisheries crime which is estimated to cost the global economy up to USD 23 billion each year.

As well as raising awareness of fisheries crime, Project Scale will coordinate operations to target this criminal activity, which is often linked to other forms of serious transnational crime including corruption, money laundering, fraud, human and drugs trafficking.

In addition to funding by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) Project Scale is also supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the United States Department of State.