Botswana has presented an opportunity for its law enforcement agencies to create new networks with counterparts in Africa and strengthen existing ones.
Thebeyame Tsimako, Botswana Police Commissioner, said at the official opening of the 21st Interpol African Regional Conference in Gaborone that there is need to limit the opportunities for criminals to move around the world, aided by advanced technology.
In his address, President of Interpol, Mr. Khoo Boon Hui, stated that globalization spurs economic development and it has also opened opportunities for highly sophisticated and organized criminal syndicates to pursue a complex web of lucrative activities. He said that the developments that have made possible the ease and timely movement of goods, people and money around the world have also facilitated movement of drugs, arms and illegal immigrants and ill-gotten money.
“We in the law enforcement fraternity are now constantly confronted with complex crimes that transcend national borders,” said Boon Hui. He said that the world is facing challenges of transnational criminal groups expanding their theatre and scope of operations, becoming more internationalized and sophisticated in complex crimes such as cyber fraud. He gave an example of terrorist organizations that exploit the advent of modern information and communication technology to recruit and train other operatives.
“Better integration and enhanced co-operation beyond our respective borders are vital elements to an effective campaign against modern international crimes,” said Boon Hui.
According to Boon Hui, Africa has 4 Interpol Regional Bureaus (RBs) in Abidjan, Harare, Nairobi and in Yaound├®, which provide Interpol with full coverage of the entire African continent.
In his opening address, Acting Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Edwin Batshu, said Botswana has invested heavily in building cooperation with global institutions that are committed to addressing international challenges. “There is need to bring about world order, peace and tranquility and Interpol will strive to strengthen its processes and systems to ensure fugitive criminals are apprehended and brought before courts of law in good time,” said Batshu.
He said member countries are now able to conduct multi-lateral joint operations within their regions, a worthwhile effort of dealing with transnational organized crime. He also suggested the creation of a continental criminal database to improve communications and technology.
The Interpol conference attracted more than 300 delegates, including the Interpol Secretary General, Ronald Noble, the executive committee, heads of regional bureaus and intelligence services members and other cooperating partners.