Strong cooperation needed to curb cross border crime

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Johannesburg - Southern African states need to intensify their cooperation to curb escalating cross border related crimes, says South African Police Services National Commissioner, Bheki Cele.

Speaking at the 14th Annual General Meeting of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCOO) in Johannesburg on Thursday, Commissioner Cele said the eradication of transnational crime needed strong cooperation between states.

Commissioner Cele said SARPCOO would be used as a mechanism to combat crime in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

"The strategic objectives of SARPCOO will be carried out with diligence within the context of co-operation and integration of police services of all member countries in the region.

"We will devise strategies for preventing and fiercely combating crime, not as individual countries but as a collective," he said, shortly after being appointed as SARPCOO Chairperson succeeding Namibia's Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga.

Commissioner Cele said organised crime syndicates, drugs smuggling, hijacking, illegally immigration and truck robberies would be among the priorities.

He added that all internal and cross-boarder anti-crime initiatives should be planned in consultation with crime intelligence agencies in order to have a stronger impact on the crime syndicates.

"Legislation throughout the Southern African region should be harmonised in order to attain the standard of cooperation towards which we are working.

"We must work on policies with regard to the extradition of suspected criminals from their home country to the country in which the crime was committed to ensure effective prosecution," he said.

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he said, there should be 24 hours tight security and cooperation between member countries to avoid illegal entry to countries and transnational organised crime.

"Although South Africa is a host country, the nature of the event requires that all of our security arrangements should be in a good shape. Crime prevention and reactive capabilities must be on the same standard in all countries," he said.

South Africa is expecting more than 500 000 visitors during the period of June and July 2010, and requires stringent and efficient boarder control plans, not only on land but in every point of entry.

Commissioner Cele confirmed that the movement of spectators across boarders would entail not only cooperation between customs officials and Department of Home Affairs but as well as other departments.

The SARPCOO was established in 1995 to promote and devise joint strategies to combat all forms of cross boarder-related crimes and to share information and training strategies on a cooperative.

This organisation's activities are based on a Constitution approved by the Chiefs of Police and their Ministers, as well as multi-lateral police cooperation agreement ratified by all member states.

SARPCOO member countries are Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.