System would allow for trans-border criminal investigations
The special representative of International Police, Interpol, to the EU, Pierre Reuland, said the operations of West African Police Information System, WAPIS, programme would receive more expertise.
Mr. Reuland said on Tuesday in Abuja that Interpol would use the existing tools in achieving the WAPIS objectives.
“The role of Interpol is to bring in the expertise that the organisation has in terms of database through our regional office here in West Africa, in Abidjan. We will bring in experts that can help build the WAPIS system and using also the tools already in place.
We are building with EU and with ECOWAS a system that allows policemen from 16 ECOWAS countries plus Mauritania to exchange police information in an electronic way.This will allow policemen at the border to know if a suspect is known by the police of the other country. This will allow investigators to have access to information from neighbouring countries so that criminal investigations all over the regions will be more efficient and prosecution process will be more successful,” he said.
According to Mr. Reuland, the WAPIS programme is facing the challenge of building partnership and confidence between law enforcement institutions within the EU and ECOWAS countries.
“Building a partnership and confidence was the first challenge that was solved; it has been overcome over two years now,” he said.
He stressed the need for a legal framework of the countries involved to exist at the national and regional levels to resolve a few legal questions arising from the exchange of information.