African police chiefs have been asked to expedite the formation of the continental police.
By Steven Candia
African police chiefs have been asked to expedite the formation of the continental police–AFRIPOL given the increasing complexity and changing nature of crime on the continent.
The plea rang out as the adhoc steering committee of the Africa Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) began meeting Thursday to among others add inertia earlier efforts to establish the continental body.
“I want to stress that ours is a race against time. With organized crime syndicate increasingly becoming complex and changing strategies and methods, the need for AFRIPOL to be up and running is ever more critical,” Dr Tarek Sharif, the AU head of defence and security division said at the Kampala Serena Hotel. The documents touch on the organization, operation and funding of the body.
Terrorism, he said, has continued to be one of biggest threats to international peace and security, noting that the threat is even more complex in Africa and as such the AU was evolving the Africa arrest warrant as one of the initiatives to tackle it.
Africa he noted is now riddled with a bevy of crimes that include drugs, arms and human trafficking in addition the illicit proliferation of arms and money laundering among others which calls for the urgent formation of a continental police to coordinate efforts to curb them.
“The need for greater national and cross border cooperation between security and intelligence agencies is more critical today then ever before. Afripol has a role to play in this regard,” he said. Officiating at the opening of the conference, State minister for internal affairs James Baba said Africa is riddled with a number of complex crimes, many of transnational nature which calls for concerted efforts to tackle them and hailed the move to establish Afripol.
“The challenging technological landscape presents new challenges in fighting organize crimes as criminal gangs and individuals turn to modern technologies to commit crimes…police and other law enforcement agencies should adopt their methods and approaches to this challenge,” Baba said.
Police Chief Gen. Kale Kayihura who chaired the meeting reiterated the commitment of the police to establish the body and was optimistic that the head offices of the continental police could be open by end of the year.
The Adhoc committee comprises of chairpersons of the regional police bodies on the continent that include the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO); South African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO); Central African Police Chiefs' Committee (CAPCCO) and West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO).
At least 22 police chiefs from Africa or their representatives, high ranking Interpol officials and several ambassadors attending the opening session before the committee went into a closed session to be followed by plenary later in the day.
The report of the committee will later be forwarded to the summit of Heads of State for consideration early next year.
The adhoc committee was set up following a meeting of police chiefs in Algiers early this year in which came up with a declaration on Afripol.
‘Speed up formation of continental force’