- Increased co-operation with the wider global law enforcement community through INTERPOL was highlighted as vital in effectively tackling regional crime such as maritime piracy, counterfeit medicines and heroin trafficking at the opening of the 11th Eastern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organization (EAPCCO).
The two-day meeting (29-30 September) in Djibouti - bringing together police chiefs from the EAPCCO member countries - Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda - heard INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services Jean-Michel Louboutin say in opening remarks that the exchange of police information was essential in identifying and arresting criminals and preventing crime.
Mr Louboutin told the meeting that while much had been achieved, INTERPOL would continue to work closely with law enforcement throughout Eastern Africa to ensure that police on the ground had access to the tools they need.
“For frontline officers to carry out their duties, it is essential that they have direct access to vital international policing tools and services supported by a strong infrastructure and that they receive the necessary training,” said Mr Louboutin.
“The full participation of EAPCCO members, with the full support of INTERPOL, in ensuring that these key elements to national policing are deployed is pivotal, not only for protecting citizens of this region, but around the world.”
The findings of a Serious and Organized Crime Threat Assessment carried out by INTERPOL for the Eastern African region will also be presented to EAPCCO members this week.
The report underlines the threat posed to regional security by transnational crime, particularly terrorism, environmental crime, intellectual property crime - especially in the area of counterfeit medicines, maritime piracy, drug trafficking and small and light weapons trafficking.
“While maritime piracy is clearly at the forefront of the international security agenda in the region, it is only one of the transnational threats to be faced by Eastern Africa,” commented Mr Louboutin. “INTERPOL stands ready to support EAPCCO in this mission, enhancing information-sharing, fostering co-operation with other law enforcement and military forces and providing operational support when needed.”
INTERPOL has already supported a number of operations carried out by Eastern Africa police including Mamba and Mamba II in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda which focused on counterfeit medical products, and Operations Umoja I and II involving Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania, targeting stolen motor vehicles.
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