The head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Christophe Bizimungu has called for effective coordination and collaboration of national central bureaus (NCB) in the regional police body to effectively deal with security threats in the region.
Bizimungu said this, yesterday, while officially opening the eighth Eastern Africa Police Chiefs’ Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) heads of NCBs meeting held in Kigali under the theme: “Making Optimum use of the Tools and Services in our National Central Bureaus to Support Police Operations and Investigations.”
“NCBs are central actors for Interpol and EAPCCO. They implement the policies; it’s important to put in much effort to have fruitful results,” Bizimungu said.
“Your role in ensuring a secure region is crucial,” he noted, urging them to coordinate and bring to justice all those involved in criminal acts.
The meeting is one of the subcommittee sessions which will take place in the six-day EAPCCO conference. Other subcommittee sessions include legal, training and gender parity.
The NCB meeting will among others, come up with ways of enhancing cooperation, especially through the use of I-24/7 communication tool and decentralising it to all outlets in the region.
The tool enables police in all member states to request, submit and access vital data instantly.
The resolutions of the subcommittee sessions will be forwarded to the Council of Ministers and Police chiefs for consideration.
Awad Dahia, the head of the regional bureau, based in Nairobi, noted that coordination among member states to deal with security threats is one of the challenges.
“It is important for the law enforcement agencies in the region such as police, customs and prisons to coordinate to produce better results. It gives us the best ways on how we can coordinate our efforts within the region,” Dahia stated.
He singled out terrorism, human and drug trafficking and theft, especially of vehicles, as the trans-national crimes that need immediate attention.
“All these crimes are of trans-national nature, not only involving citizens from the region but even beyond. Unless we cooperate and share intelligence information, no single nation can address these threats effectively on its own,” Dahia added.
Interpol, as an international organisation in policing issues, Dahia noted, is in a better position to coordinate all the issues by using the I-24/7 communication tool.
Dahia commended the steps taken since the establishment EAPCCO in 1998, such as signing of coordination agreements between member countries, which he said have smoothened the implementation of laws.
Elizabeth Kuteesa, the Assistant Director for Africa Interpol General Secretariat, promised more support to various regional initiatives to enhance capacity building within the EAPCCO region.
“Our support to extend the I-24/7 network beyond NCBs, cross border operations or training in specific crime areas is a multiplier effect of success that also brings, within, more responsibilities to the officers manning the regional bureaus and NCBs,” she said.
Kuteesa observed that there is need to put in place national action plans and to allow more officers to have user accounts at the NCBs.
EAPCCO was established as an effective way of improving international police cooperation in combating transnational crimes through cooperation and collaboration, adoption of joint strategies, monitoring and information exchange among others.
It brings together 11 countries in the region namely; Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eretria, Kenya, Uganda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and the host, Rwanda.
Following her independence in July this year, South Sudan applied to join EAPCCO.