Sierra Leone strengthens its security architecture with the inauguration of the NCMS-WAPIS Centre.

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Sierra Leone strengthens its security architecture with the inauguration of the NCMS-WAPIS Centre.

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Freetown, Sierra Leone – The Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone, represented by its Chief Minister, Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa, on 27 January 2022 inaugurated the National Crime Management System National Data Collection and Recording Center – System West African Police Information System (NCMS-WAPIS) at CID Headquarters in Freetown.

This ceremony was also attended by government officials, the head of the political section of the European Union delegation in Freetown as well as the head of INTERPOL’s WAPIS program and various law enforcement officials and representatives of ECOWAS Embassies and EU Member States based in Sierra Leone.

The NCMS-WAPIS Center is a data collection and recording center that will operationalize the WAPIS system in Sierra Leone.

The West African Police Information System (WAPIS) is an initiative of West African countries under ECOWAS, aimed at establishing an effective national, regional and international response to national, regional criminal threats and international, including transnational organized crime and terrorism. The objective of the WAPIS system is to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement agencies in West African countries to effectively combat these criminal threats, by improving their capacities to collect, process and analyze information, and to share information between national security agencies and with other countries. in the region and beyond through INTERPOL.

The WAPIS system is supported by a multiannual program (2012-2022) funded by the European Union and implemented by INTERPOL, with political and strategic support from ECOWAS. The fifteen (15) ECOWAS countries benefiting from INTERPOL’s WAPIS program are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Two non-ECOWAS countries, Mauritania and Chad, are also covered by the WAPIS programme. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Sierra Leone and INTERPOL for the operationalization of WAPIS was signed 3 years ago, in January 2019.

The WAPIS system is used at three levels: national, regional and global:

  • At the national level, it creates a centralized national police information system that collects, processes and analyzes police data from different national law enforcement agencies in digital form, and shares this information electronically between law enforcement agencies.

  • At the regional level, national systems are networked in a regional information sharing platform to exchange police data between countries in the region.

  • At the global level, each national WAPIS system shares police information via the INTERPOL I-24/7 global secure communication system.

The data collection and recording center inaugurated today is a major step in the establishment of a WAPIS system in Sierra Leone that will improve the country’s ability to respond effectively to national, regional and international criminal threats, including including transnational organized crime and terrorism. The center will bring together all security and law enforcement agencies involved in the process of collecting, centralizing, managing and analyzing criminal case data in digital format, sharing this information electronically between agencies. law enforcement agencies and with other countries in the region and INTERPOL. It will serve as a catalyst for security integration and inter-agency collaboration in the country, bringing together the entire security apparatus in the process of collecting, storing and sharing criminal data at the national, regional and global levels. . The center will promote the sharing of real-time criminal data, thereby supporting major crime investigations and front-line officers in managing the movement of people and goods at border crossing points. The WAPIS program will see the creation of national police data systems in each ECOWAS Member State, Mauritania and Chad, as well as the development of a regional platform for enhanced police data exchange.

Opening the inauguration ceremony, the Inspector General of Police, Dr Ambrose Michael Sovula, assured participants that the effective operation of the WAPIS system is high on the Sierra Leone Police’s agenda and that all partners are assured the unwavering commitment of the organization in this regard. .

Acknowledging the political and operational involvement of the Government of Sierra Leone, WAPIS Program Manager, Mr. Richard GOTWE thanked the participants for honoring the invitation and said that INTERPOL will increase the number of WAPIS workstations both at the WAPIS Center and at the entire network of police stations in the country in order to use it to its maximum potential. He described the actions envisaged by the WAPIS program as follows: the connection of the I-24/7 secure global communication system, which will allow law enforcement agencies in Sierra Leone working with the WAPIS system to verify in real time, worldwide, large-scale police data hosted by INTERPOL.

The head of the political section of the European Union delegation, Juan Antonio Frutos, underlined: “Transnational threats and challenges do not stop at borders and therefore cannot be effectively addressed by a single state. They need joint and coordinated international, regional cooperation. and the national response.” Mr. Frutos added: “We commend the Sierra Leonean authorities and law enforcement agencies for their active support for the implementation of the WAPIS program in Sierra Leone and the establishment of this center DACORE: However, this is only the first step. We encourage the Sierra Leonean authorities to maintain this WAPIS system as a priority of the national security strategy, and to take measures to ensure the sustainability of the WAPIS system, in particular to :

  • Publish in the Official Journal the ECOWAS Supplementary Act on the protection of personal data;

  • Adopt a law on the protection of personal data applicable to the WAPIS System;

  • Ensure budget allocation for the system; and

  • Ensure that staff trained in the use of WAPIS, present at DACORE and other WAPIS sites, remain in post for at least 3 years.”

Concluding his remarks, the Chief Minister noted that the WAPIS program is timely as it will significantly boost regional and global security cooperation efforts against insecurity caused by threats from transnational organized criminal networks, including maritime crimes such as piracy and other illicit activities at sea off the coast. the coast of West Africa and more broadly the Gulf of Guinea.

As part of the WAPIS program, a training session on the use of the WAPIS system was organized and 50 people were trained in the participating agencies, which was followed by the deployment and installation of workstations in the premises from various law enforcement agencies including Police, Immigration and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The NCMS-WAPIS Center in Sierra Leone is the ninth (9th) operational WAPIS data center in West Africa, after Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Gambia. Other inaugurations are planned in the coming months in other West African countries.

For more information on WAPIS: https://www.raosupportcellecowas.com/post/west-africa-police-information-system-3-wapis-3-edf-1

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