POLICE chiefs in the East African Community (EAC) member states have designed measures of cooperating to curb drug trafficking and other crimes in the region.
Meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, under the EAC Sectoral Council on Inter-State Security, the Police bosses consented to routinely exchanging crime intelligence within member countries in order to easily nab criminals.
Other measures agreed upon to guarantee regional peace and security include establishment of cross-border communication security networks.
The meeting, according to a press statement from the EAC secretariat, was held to look for solutions to the ever increasing security threats in the five EAC member states, particularly Uganda and Burundi which have troops in the terror-ravaged Somalia.
The deputy inspector general of Police, Okoth Ochola, represented Uganda at the meeting which was part of the fourth assembly of the EAC Sectoral Council on Inter-State Security.
Besides Police chiefs, Heads of Prisons/Correctional Services, Heads of Counter Terrorism Co-ordination entities and Heads of Disaster Risk Reduction Co-ordination entities attended the meeting.
The officials designated as â€œurgentâ€ the establishment of a regional forensic centre. The centre, they said, would address the evolution in crime, which requires investigations by use of sophisticated scientific methods.
Earlier, the EAC Deputy Secretary General Beatrice Kiraso had called upon the police and other security agencies in member states to cooperate in order to curb crime in the region.
Kiraso said security chiefs had a primary role to make East Africa safe for investments, tourism and other economic and social activities.
She specifically decried human and drug trafficking, which she said were detrimental to regional development and ought to be fought head-on.
â€œEast Africa has become a convenient transit route for human and drug traffickers,â€ she added.
Kiraso told the Police chiefs that some German experts had visited the region early this year and promised to offer assistance in forensic services. â€œThe terror attacks on Kampala in July 2010 remain a reminder to the urgent need for such an instrument,â€ she emphasised.
The EAC is also pushing for conclusion of a Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters Interment to facilitate expeditious legal exchange of prisoners, criminal commodities and other critical support elements.
The ministers also received progress reports on conclusion of the EAC Peace and Security Protocol; conclusion of the EAC Early Warning Mechanism (CPRM); and Development of the EAC Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (CPMR) Framework.
Police chiefs to fight crime in EAC