Regional ministers, police chiefs witness cybercrime investigations demonstration

Ministers with police in their dockets and Chiefs of Police from the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) member states, Thursday, visited the police officers from the African region currently participating in the all-African ‘cyber-enabled crime table top exercise’ at Camp Kigali to witness the expected impact of the joint-play in responding to transnational and emerging crimes on the continent.

Ministers with police in their dockets and Chiefs of Police from the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) member states, Thursday, visited the police officers from the African region currently participating in the all-African ‘cyber-enabled crime table top exercise’ at Camp Kigali to witness the expected impact of the joint-play in responding to transnational and emerging crimes on the continent.

The ministers and the Chiefs of Police, who constitute the ‘council of ministers and that of police respectively, were in Kigali for the 18th EAPCCO annual general assembly held under the theme of “Enhancing cooperation and innovation in combating transnational organised and emerging crimes.”

 

According to Commissioner of Police (CP) Felix Namuhoranye, the exercise coordinator, the visit was meant to give them an insight into the concept, contrast and conduct of the exercise.

 

“It is imperative to know the impact of such exercises if our line ministries and Chiefs of Police are to make it part and parcel of their plans. The success of such exercises in combating cyber enabled crimes and other crimes facilitated by technology, depends on effective coordination, cooperation, planning, joint operations and information exchange between countries, and this exercise was actually designed in that line, which the officials came here to witness,” CP Namuhoranye said.

 

The five-day joint-play, codenamed ‘Exercise Cyber Tracks’ was organised by Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with Interpol to combine classroom teaching and practical implementation of acquired skills and knowledge to address the practical challenges necessary to undertake cybercrime investigations.

It focuses on three areas: cyber-enabled crime and digital forensics; the use of Interpol’s global policing capabilities such as databases, notices and its communication network of I-24/7; and investigations into human trafficking.

The exercise uses a case scenario, where a vulnerable 20-year old girl was lured away from her home by a human trafficking ring that essentially lied to her about getting a job.

“To solve this case, investigators are required to use their investigation skills to think about what information they need. This might be an extraction from a mobile phone, text messages, the missing girl could have been recruited over the internet, how it started, where it started from, country of destination…so we try to explore all avenues and procedures through which a victim can be lured, until the suspect is tracked and arrested, and the victim rescued,” the exercise coordinator said.

This exercise presents a challenge to the old-fashioned reactive way of policing where countries were working independently, according to Namuhoranye.

He noted that the world is evolving and cybercrimes or emerging security threats are real and affecting nations.

“This exercise, therefore, sets a precedent that each country or police institution will require support information from their counterparts in other countries and will need to conduct an operation in another country. To do that requires mutual cooperation with one another so that your sister institutions can actually conduct that operation on your behalf,” CP Namuhoranye said.

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