President Paul Kagame has called upon Police forces to strengthen cooperation as an effective way to deal with global security challenges which pose threat to the socio-economic transformation in Africa.
The President made the call while officially opening the two-day 3rd Sub-Saharan Africa International Association of Chief of Police (IACP) conference in Kigali held under the theme “Contemporary Policing for a Safer World.”
He said that the security challenges of the 21st century are increasing and sophisticated which requires collaboration to effectively combat them.
He urged them to come up with frameworks to improve security and development on the region and beyond, and enhance global Police cooperation in fighting crime.
“Development can only take place on the foundation of law and order. Law enforcement agencies, therefore, have a crucial role in ensuring peaceful conditions within which citizens can fully participate in the prosperity and wellbeing of their communities,” he said.
He observed that security threats in one country, region or continent have far reaching beyond national and natural borders.
The three elements of historical mission of the police, its role in a modern integrated political and economic setting and common security threats, he said, define the nature of effective role of enforcement agencies.
“Our collective aspirations are to improve the livelihoods of our people. We can achieve this more effectively when we pull our resources and efforts,” Kagame said.
He commended regional Police organizations like the Eastern Africa Police Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) and similar others in South, West and Central Africa and the recent formation of a wider Police organization – African Police Organisation (AFRIPOL) – which he said are part of the answers to the current policing challenges.
Rwanda is the brain behind the merging of EAPCCO and Interpol to form AFRIPOL, which was adopted by African Chiefs of Police during their meeting held in Algiers, Algeria in February this year.
He highlighted Information Communication Technology (ICT) as an opportunity to development and also another answer to current policing challenges.
“To take full advantage of these prospects, it is critical that police forces are connected internally and across the region and set up the requisite infrastructure for gathering and sharing information.”
“As citizens and governments put technology to humanity, criminals are also quick to adopt and abuse these tools. In some cases, they are ahead of law enforcement agencies. The emergency of cybercrime which encompasses offences ranging from terrorism, money laundering, human trafficking, theft, fraud, blackmail constitutes a major challenge to police forces across the world.”
He underscored the need for Police forces to rethink and reshape approaches to keep criminals in check and called upon governments to support their respective Police agencies to execute their tasks effectively.
He urged participants to come up with mechanisms to establish a technology-best global framework for law enforcement, harmonize their stands, regulations, laws and practices in order to cope with reality of globalization and to safeguard the benefits of technology.
“Our people need a peaceful and secure environment to effect this transformation. This forum presents a strategic platform to optimize opportunities and check frets to our chosen path towards a safer and more prosperous world. For this to happen, increased collaboration is both inevitable and the answer.”
About 150 partcipants including Chiefs of Police, senior Police officers and IACP members are taking part in the conference which seeks to strengthen the professionalism, cooperation, exchange of information and experience among police forces.
Founded in 1893 in USA, IACP is a dynamic organization that promotes enhanced administrative, technical, and operational police practices; foster cooperation and the exchange of information and experience.
The President of IACP, Mr. Yousry Zakhary, who thanked the Government of Rwanda for hosting this important conference and lauded IGP Emmanuel K. Gasana for pushing for cooperation of Police forces to ensure sustainable security globally.
“It’s our duty to make every possible effort to establish working partnership between Police agencies and executives throughout the world. Despite the difference between our languages, culture and even the laws we enforce, we must work together to prevail against our common enemies and fulfill our common missions,” Zakhary said.
The Inspector General of Rwanda National Police, Emmanuel K. Gasana, who commended the big turn-up of participants to continue the path to a safer continent, said this 3rd IACP for the Sub Saharan Policing Conference comes in to enhance the existing collaboration, partnership and strengthen synergies with regional police organizations for a safer world.
He thanked the Government of Rwanda for the support towards the success of this conference.
Rwanda and Rwanda National Police in particular, have been at the forefront of uniting regional and international Police forces and organization to effectively deal with cross-border and organized security threats.
Rwanda has hosted similar international Police conferences, professional trainings and joint exercises both in command post and field training exercises.
Next year, Rwanda will host Interpol Regional Assembly, another big commitment Rwanda has made towards international cooperation.
Rwanda is also the current delegate for Africa on the Interpol Executive Committee, hosts the continental anti-gender-based violence secretariat (AFSOCCA-VAWG), Regional Centres of Excellence for high learning of Police Senior Command and Staff College, Peace Support Operations Training Centre and motor-vehicle Mechanical Inspection Centre (MIC).