3 - 4 May 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has not decreased the threat posed by ISIL/Da’esh and Al-Qaida. West Africa has witnessed continued terrorist activities across the region, which has coincided with a slowing down and overburdening of states’ responses who directed their efforts primarily at enforcing health measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Cross-border cooperation among law enforcement agencies is more crucial than ever. On the frontline of the response to terrorist activities, intelligence, police and law enforcement agencies play an instrumental role in countering terrorism.
Though coordination and cooperation are all-important in countering terrorism, limited human resources, lack of appropriate instruments, distinct legal frameworks, organizational differences, and different priority setting of the agencies involved in counterterrorism present ongoing challenges.
The GCTF Capacity-Building in the West Africa Region Working Group Co-Chairs, Algeria and Germany, with support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office (UNODC) for West and Central Africa, convened a virtual workshop to discuss police cooperation in the counterterrorism context. Police Cooperation is one of the eight priority themes identified in the WAWG Work Plan until September 2022.
Inter-agency and international cooperation at the core of the discussions
The workshop provided an opportunity for national-level practitioners from the justice sector, intelligence services, law enforcement, border security, and counterterrorism operations to share their experiences and to identify gaps in capacity. Participants offered recommendations on inter-agency information exchange and communication systems and learned more about regional and existing international mechanisms that can enhance and foster cooperation.
More specifically, participants focused on the main strengths and challenges to information sharing among intelligence services and law enforcement agencies. They also explored good practices to enhance collaboration between law enforcement and magistrates in investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating terrorism cases, as well as the operational steps and measures to enhance the collection, use and sharing of evidence in national level counterterrorism operations, and the differences between inter-agency cooperation in urban environments and rural areas.
INTERPOL, AFRIPOL, and the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) presented their mandates and the different ways they are assisting states with a view to enhance international cooperation.
GCTF Good Practices Referencing Police Cooperation
Since 2011, the GCTF has developed a number of Framework Documents that include good practices on various forms of police cooperation to counter terrorist activities, such as: