Ministers with police in their dockets and Chiefs of Police from the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) member states, yesterday visited the police officers from various African countries currently participating in the all-African ‘cyber-enabled crime table top exercise’ at Kigali Conference and exhibition Village to witness the expected impact of the joint-play in responding to transnational and emerging crimes on the continent.
The ministers and the Chiefs of Police, who constitute the ‘council of ministers and council of chiefs of police respectively, are currently in Kigali for the ongoing 18th EAPCCO annual general assembly held under the theme of “Enhancing cooperation and innovation in combating transnational organized and emerging crimes.”
According to Commissioner of Police (CP) Felix Namuhoranye, the exercise coordinator, the visit was meant to give them an overview of the concept, construct and conduct of the exercise.
“It is imperative to know the impact of such exercises if our line ministries and Chiefs of Police are to make it part and parcel of their plans. The success of such exercises in combating cyber enabled crimes and other crimes facilitated by technology, depends on effective coordination, cooperation, planning, join operation and information exchange between countries, and this exercise was actually designed in that line, which the officials came here to witness,” CP Namuhoranye said.
The five-day-exercise play code-named "Exercise Cyber Tracks" was organized by Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with Interpol to combine classroom teaching and practical implementation of acquired skills and knowledge to address the practical challenges necessary to undertake cyber-crime investigations.
It focuses on three areas: cyber enabled crime and digital forensics; the use of INTERPOL’s global policing capabilities such as databases, notices and its communication network of I-24/7; and investigations into human trafficking.
The exercise which started with a two days training on 29-30 August 2016, uses a case scenario where a vulnerable 20-year old girl was lured away from her home by a human trafficking ring that essentially lied to her about getting a job.
“To solve this case, investigators are required to use their investigation skills to think about what information they need and; this might be an extraction from a mobile phone, text messages, the missing girl could have been recruited over the internet, how it started, where it started from, country of destination…so we try to explore all avenues and procedures through which a victim can be lured, until the suspect is tracked and arrested, and the victim rescued,” the exercise coordinator said.
“This exercise presents a challenge to the old-fashioned reactive way of policing where countries were working independently. The world is evolving and cybercrimes or emerging security threats are real and affecting nations.”
“This exercise, therefore presents a precedence that each country or police institution will require support information from the other and will need to conduct an operation in another country; to do that requires mutual cooperation with one another so that your sister institutions can as well conduct that operation in your name,” CP Namuhoranye said.
“By the end of this joint-play, we will have a general understanding that cooperation is not an option… it’s a must to learn from each other, investigate, locate, break criminal networks, apprehended and extradite criminals to countries where they are wanted to face justice,” he noted.
Mathew Simon, a digital crime officer at the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore, who is one of the exercise controllers, noted that human trafficking is a pernicious worldwide crime and very serious which targets the most vulnerable in a society.
“Cyber enabled crime includes all contemporary crimes; everything from murder, sexual assaults and even common theft; they have elements of mobile phones involved, and this is digital evidence, and in this way, we are bringing these two elements together – human trafficking and cyber-enabled crime – and also brings in the third component of Interpol policing capabilities,” Mathew said.
Close to 100 participants from different African countries are taking in the fourth exercise-play to be conducted in Rwanda.
Cooperation and training in particular is among the priorities of RNP.