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European Union

WAPIS Programme

The overall objective of the West Africa Police Information System (WAPIS) Programme is to strengthen information exchange and coordination among the region’s law enforcement agencies. This is essential in order to combat the crimes currently affecting the region such as drug trafficking, human smuggling and terrorism.

  • WAPIS will enable police officers in West African countries to access critical police information from their national criminal databases and from databases of countries across the region, thus improving the identification of criminals and supporting ongoing investigations.
  • WAPIS will enable better analysis of the problems of transnational organized crime and terrorism facing the region. Generally, it will allow a better understanding of crime originating in, coming from a transiting through West Africa.
  • WAPIS will allow greater police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters within the region, the European Union and the rest of the world.

The Programme will support the efforts of national authorities and ECOWAS in improving the security of citizens in West Africa and is being implemented at three levels: national, regional and global.

National level

The Programme will provide local law enforcement authorities with an electronic national police information system allowing them to create, manage and share files connected to crimes and offences. Data will include:

  • Criminal cases and events;
  • Suspects, victims and witnesses;
  • Legal proceedings;
  • Weapons and objects;
  • Vehicles;
  • Identity documents.

Regional level

The national systems will be networked into a regional information sharing platform for police. This will allow the instant exchange of authorized police data among countries of the region, thereby enhancing cooperation and rapid police action.

Another advantage of this centralized system is that police will be able to collate crime statistics more easily and analyse trends affecting the region. The insights will be used to develop effective anti-crime strategies.

Global level

Each national police data system will be connected to INTERPOL’s secure, global police communications system (I-24/7) through the country’s National Central Bureau. As such, officers will be able to share authorized national data globally and to perform checks against INTERPOL’s databases.

This capacity has the potential to reveal connections between crimes and criminals that would not previously have been possible. For example, an officer performing a name check on a national suspected of drug trafficking may learn that the individual is wanted by another country, beyond the region, for similar criminal activities.

Interconnection with INTERPOL’s I-24/7 system will help strengthen the operational link between West African law enforcement and the rest of the world, which is crucial to effectively combating transnational organized crime and terrorism.

EU funding

The Programme has been fully funded by the European Union since its outset in 2012, first under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) then under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. In July 2015, the EU and ECOWAS agreed to further support the full rollout of the WAPIS System in all ECOWAS countries and Mauritania under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF, EU-West Africa Regional Indicative Programme). The EDF support has been available since November 2017 for 55 months and will cover activities in all ECOWAS countries and Mauritania. Activities with the G5 Sahel and Chad would continue under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa until November 2018.

Upcoming Events

March 27-29th 2018: ECOWAS Expert Committee Conference on Regional platform sharing data, atHotel Azalai Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

June 26-27th 2018: WAPIS Programme second Steering Committee and WAPIS phase 3 European Development Fund official Launching, Abidjan. (Côte d’Ivoire)

Project Milestones

September 2012: Launching of the WAPIS Programme first phase.

September 2013: Beginning of the WAPIS Programme second phase and the implementation of the system in four pilot countries. (Benin, Ghana, Niger, Mali) under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

September 2015: Official Inauguration of the Data collection center in Mali, Niger and Benin.

May 2016: The WAPIS Programme has entered a 15-month intermediary phase under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which saw the Programme initiates work with Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire and Mauritania.

September 2016: Launching of the national WAPIS and official inauguration of the Data Center in Accra, Ghana.

November 2017: Under the 11th European Development Fund, the WAPIS enters its third phase which will last for 55 months with the full roll out of the included all ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania. The WAPIS Team has been relocated to Abidjan to implement this phase.

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