The West African Police Information System (WAPIS) Ghana was established on September 29, 2015 and became fully operational in February 2016 with stakeholders including Ghana Police Service, Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Prison Service, the Narcotics Control Commission and the Ministry of the Attorney General. .
The idea to create WAPIS arose from members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after concerns were raised about the wave of transnational organized crime and terrorism affecting the region.
ECOWAS noted that there were blunders at the national, regional and international levels, as a result the sub-region was becoming a “hub for crimes such as drug trafficking, migrant smuggling and international terrorism.”
Member States further observed that without an effective exchange of police information within and between regions, as well as with the rest of the world, there could be âno enforcement strategy to deal with these threats â.
Based on the above reasons, the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) requested funding from the European Union (EU) for the establishment of an “electronic system of exchange of police data in the different Member States in order to better prevent and fight crime.
The European Union has provided funding to INTERPOL for the development and implementation of a Police Information System for ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania, which would be connected at the regional level, by developing a platform regional police data exchange.
WAPIS programs were therefore launched in phases in its 15 member states and funding for its program was due to end in June 2022.
The WAPIS program is funded by the EU and implemented by INTERPOL.
It benefits from the political and strategic support of ECOWAS.
The WAPIS system has been designed for use at three levels: national, regional and international.
At the national level, the WAPIS program aims to provide law enforcement authorities with a centralized IT system, pooling resources and making it possible to collect, organize and share police information.
This system enables the processing of data collected during criminal investigations.
At the regional level, INTERPOL is working with national and regional authorities, under the auspices of ECOWAS, to develop and implement a regional police data exchange platform for ECOWAS member states and Mauritania.
The platform allows the instant exchange of authorized police data between countries. Officers could easily find out if a person is wanted by another country.
Internationally, the WAPIS system is connected to the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in order to share authorized national data worldwide through its 24/7 system.
Over the years, WAPIS Ghana has registered around 18,000 convicts and documents entered into its database and the data is continually stored and queried by institutions to facilitate their investigations.
It has also led to increased inter-agency cooperation among stakeholders in the fight against crime. Security agencies can easily access information on convicts and wanted persons.
The WAPIS Center, housed in the Criminal Investigation Department building, has deployed over 37 equipment for its stakeholders in Ghana.
These include scanners, monitors, computers, among others.
Currently, a series of training programs are organized for its administrator, validators and national trainers.