SA, Italy boost police cooperation

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pretoria - Police cooperation between South Africa and Italy will be strengthened following discussions between Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Italian Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri on Tuesday.

The two ministers signed an agreement on police cooperation between the two countries in at Parliament, Cape Town.

At the heart of the bilateral discussions was promoting cooperation between South Africa and Italy in preventing, combating and investigating crime, and recognising the importance of international cooperation in combating transnational organised crime.

State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and the Italian Ambassador Vincenzo Schioppa were also at Tuesday's discussions.

Mthethwa noted that criminal syndicates globally were becoming sophisticated. He was hopeful that through the agreement, law enforcement agencies from both countries would be able to cooperate and jointly break the backbone of such syndicates.

"From our side as South Africa, we shall spare neither strength nor effort to ensure that criminals fail in these acts and intentions. We therefore welcome this cooperation from our counterparts from Italy as we see it as additional arsenal in our efforts of fighting crime," Mthethwa said.

The agreement also included cooperation on trafficking in transnational organised crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, firearm trafficking, terrorism as well as crowd management and event security.

"We further outlined and agreed to enhance various ways of consolidating and exchanging of working experience and information necessary to combat crime and to explore further mechanisms to cooperate and assist each other in the field of combating crime in accordance with the domestic law of their countries as well as their international obligations," Mthethwa added.

Cancellieri said Italy recognised the particular importance of the agreement within the framework of international and European Union politics, with a view to strengthening the security and development of Africa.

"The signature of the agreement underlines the common interest to intensify the collaboration between our two countries in all the sectors of strategic interest like the fight against cybercrime, organised transnational criminality, illicit drug trafficking, psychotropic substances and their precursors, trafficking of migrants, arms trafficking, human trafficking and terrorism," she said.

The discussions also highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation in searching and capturing of criminals at large, Cancellieri added.

On the issue to terrorism, South Africa and Italy agreed to cooperate in preventing and suppressing terrorist acts in accordance with the domestic law in force in their countries and their international obligations.

Both ministers agreed on an effective manner of cooperation, which will include the ongoing exchange of information on crime and criminal organisations, legislation and scientific tools to combat crime and exchanging information relating to training and use of specialised techniques to combat crime.

They also undertook to put in place measures to help each other with special investigations, exchanging information on methods to combat human trafficking, information on passports and other travel documents.