By Augustine Ehikioya
Worried by low records in Africa, the President of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL), General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, has said that the non-digitization of Police records and systems in Africa is hindering INTERPOL from fighting crimes in the continent.
General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, who is from the United Arab Emirates, was in Kenya for the 10th meeting of the steering committee of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL).
Security Watch Africa (SWA) monitored the meeting in Nairobi, which began on Wednesday.
The meeting seeks to review AFRIPOL priorities to reflect on emerging and existing complex entrenched cross border crimes such as cybercrime, money laundering, mobile phone fraud, identity theft, phishing scams, terrorism, drugs and human trafficking, small arms trade, theft of motor vehicles, livestock smuggling, contrabands and general organized theft.
According to the INTERPOL President, the African continent only contributes about 0.78 percent of all INTERPOL records.
He said it is very low in comparison with the 21 percent being contributed by Central and South America INTERPOL.
He said “Africa’s population is now at 1.3 billion today representing 16 percent of the world’s population. The population is expected to grow to 2.5 billion people by 2050, accounting for 26 percent of the world’s population.
“By 2100, Africa will be a major economic and global force and I believe you will agree that for the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to succeed, information must flow effectively across the continents including Police information,” he added.
To stem the tide, he charged African countries to embrace more the digitalization of Police records and integrate data in a way that would be easy to understand, use and deploy.
He noted that lack of data on crimes committed in Africa is hindering full-length understanding of the depth of criminal networks in the continent.
He added that the continent also misses out on INTERPOL’s assistance to identify missing persons through DNA Matching through its I-familia platform.
I-Familia is a global database for identifying missing persons based on DNA kinship matching that was launched less than a year ago to address the growing cases of missing persons and unidentified bodies across the world due to the prevalence of organised crime and human trafficking, global migration and natural disasters.
This is to be used in identifying human remains that cannot be identified using a member State’s sole national system.
Highlighting the success factors of law enforcement agencies and Police organizations in combating crimes at the meeting, the President of INTERPOL said it can be achieved through Digitization of Police systems, integration of data, and qualifying young Police leaders to use technology.
The flow of information across countries and into the hands of frontline Police, he said, is the key to achieve high security and safety indicators in the world.
At a meeting with Minister of the Interior and Coordination of the National Government of the Republic of Kenya, discussions were on the joint cooperation between the Republic of Kenya and INTERPOL in joint operations and developing competencies in Kenyan Police.
The President who is accompanied by the INTERPOL Vice President For Africa, AIG Garba Baba Umar from Nigeria and other top officials of the organisation, at the meeting highlighted that the security of the Republic of Kenya and the African continent is the security of the world.