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OCWAR-T supports Joint Criminal Intelligence Collection and Coordination Mechanism in The Gambia

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The joint Criminal Intelligence Collection and Coordination workshop took place in Banjul, The Gambia from 14 to 25 November 2022. In line with the governmental demand and in support of the creation of a joint mechanism for criminal intelligence collection and coordination in the country, UNODC engaged with senior representatives of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Ministry of Interior (MoI), Gambia Police Force (GPF), National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP), Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEAG), State Intelligence Service (SIS) and Joint Operations Centre (JOC).

The opening remarks by the Ministry of Justice (represented by Solicitor General, Mr. Hussein Thomasi), Ministry of Interior (represented by Deputy Director General of SIS, Mr. Lamin Jadama) and Germany (represented by Political Attaché, Ms. Verena Braren) highlighted the growing threat of Transnational Organised Crime, growing complexity and interlinkages of different types of crimes and the  importance of inter-agency law enforcement collaboration and coordination, especially on matters of intelligence-sharing.

According to the Regional Representative of the UNODC for West and Central Africa, Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés: “A significant increase in cases of Transnational Organized Crime has occurred in the region. Building the capacity of security agencies, collaborating with other law enforcement agencies within Africa, and providing modern equipment to law enforcement agencies are crucial to preventing and combating transnational organized crime effectively.”

As a result of the discussion, the national partners confirmed the interest in creating a joint intelligence collection and sharing mechanism in The Gambia and reiterated the commitment to support and participate in the UNODC-facilitated process of the mechanism set-up. 

The workshop continued with a training course on covert intelligence collection and coordination for 29 officers (24 men, five women) of the law enforcement agencies mentioned above as well as donation of specialised law enforcement equipment (24 covert radios) for further use in joint intelligence led-operations.

As a result, the law enforcement officers learned and practiced advanced investigation techniques, including Handling informants; Use of specialised covert communication equipment; Planning a covert operation; Role of the Joint Operations Centre and role of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Co-ordination of Intelligence. The obtained knowledge, skills and equipment are to be used in the upcoming joint intelligence collection and sharing mechanism in The Gambia.

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The OCWAR-T project is an ECOWAS support project, commissioned by the German Government and co-funded by the EU. The project is implemented by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and Mines Advisory Group (MAG), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC). OCWAR-T supports the ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania in reducing Transnational Organised Crime by strengthening national and regional structures, supporting capacities in fostering evidence-led policy and decision-making and efforts in enhancing criminal investigation and prosecution, improving small arms control, and reducing human trafficking.