By Mafugi Ceesay
The director of planning and development at the International Criminal Police Organisation, Interpol, has disclosed that his office will soon begin training of law enforcement officials in the Gambia, to combat increasing threats of transnational crimes.
The training would be in line with the implementation of the West Africa Police Information System (WAPIS) a programme implemented by Interpol and funded by the European Union.
It seeks to strengthen the exchange of police information in West African states, whose geographical locations make it attractive to criminals as a transit hub between Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
Dirk Allaerts, who is responsible for refining and managing Interpol’s strategic and business planning, was speaking at a handing over ceremony of IT equipment donated to the Gambia police force, at the anticrime unit in Bijilo.
He said crime is a universal challenge that poses threats to global peace and security in the absence of criminal data sharing amongst law enforcement agencies at national, regional, and global level.
He added the WAPIS program aims to respond to some of the challenges faced by West African countries, ranging from drug trafficking, human trafficking and terrorism etc.
The Interpol senior official disclosed that the WAPIS program already acquired 40 workstations with an IT equipped scanning stations to strengthen the efficiency and criminal data collection in the West Africa region, adding that the implementation of the programme in the Gambia is also set to commence.
He solicits the cooperation of local authorities in ensuring all the legal and technical arrangements necessary for successful implementation of the program are in place.
Ebrima Mballow, minister of interior said 21st century is faced with unprecedented realities of transnational crimes.
Mballow said the regional communication infrastructure, would help to better equip security officials to deal with transnational organised crimes, drugs and human trafficking, counterfeit detection, money laundering amongst others.
“The government of the Gambia has registered tremendous achievement in the implementation of all WAPIS requirement in an effort to respond to the evolving policing needs as unequivocally identified by national law enforcement and Interpol member countries to end safe haven for criminals,” he noted.