At the awareness-raising ceremony held by the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) at the Ghana Police Service Headquarters in Accra, the Hon. Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery reiterated Government’s commitment to maintaining peace and security in Ghana and the sub-region.

He said successful transnational criminal investigation depends largely on the availability of and timely access to information and that is why Ghana is happy to be one of the countries chosen for the implementation of WAPIS Programme to beef up security in the country.

The Hon. Minister expressed joy about the WAPIS Programme and said it has been very beneficial to Ghana in various ways with regards to criminal investigations and particularly the fight against transnational organized crime such as background checks, platform for information sharing, training and other capacity building programme and distribution of equipment to extension sites.

The WAPIS Programme, which is funded by the European Union and implemented by INTERPOL, receives political and strategic support from the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS). The Programme is to enhance the capacity for West African law enforcement authorities to fight transnational crime and terrorism through enhanced police information management and sharing.

The WAPIS system has been designed for use at three levels, national, regional and international. The national level aims to make a central, computerized system available to law enforcement services, pooling resources and allowing police information to be collected, organized and shared.

Hon. Ambrose Dery said the implementation of the WAPIS Programme has been in three phases. Phase 1, he explained took place between 2010 and 2013 and was aimed at getting the Government of Ghana and other stakeholders like the Ghana Police Service, Ministry of the Interior, the Attorney General’s Department, Ghana Prisons Service, Narcotics Control Commission and the Ghana Immigration Service to understand and embrace the concept of WAPIS so they can lend their full support to it.

In the second phase, he said the implementation took place between 2013 and 2015 and at that point, the various stakeholders had embraced the idea of WAPIS. He added that currently, Ghana is on course regarding the third and final phase of the Programme.

According to him, the extension of the WAPIS system to the major stakeholders have been completed and that it is very important because it allows all the stakeholders to have access to criminal data in the system to help speed up the investigation.

Hon. Ambrose Dery thanked the European Union, INTERPOL, ECOWAS and all stakeholders who worked hard to bring Ghana thus far in the implementation of the WAPIS Programme.

The Inspector-General of Police, Dr. George Akuffo-Dampare also expressed his gratitude to all stakeholders for their continued support and proposed that the name West African Police Information System be changed to West African Security Information System to enable other security services to be part and own the Programme.