The West African Police Information System (WAPIS) Ghana, was birthed on September 29, 2015 and it became fully operational in February 2016 with stakeholders comprising the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Prisons Service, Narcotic Control Commission and the Attorney General’s Department.
The idea to create WAPIS stemmed from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) members after concerns were raised over the spate of transnational organized crime and terrorism affecting the region.
ECOWAS noticed that there were gabs at the national, regional and international levels, hence the sub-region was becoming a “hub for crimes such as drug trafficking, migrant smuggling and international terrorism.
The member states further observed that without effective police information exchange within the region and among regions, as well as the rest of the world, there could be “no enforcement strategy to tackle these threats”.
Based on the above reasons, the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) applied to the European Union (EU) for funding for the establishment of an “electronic police –data- exchange system in the various member states to better prevent and tackle crime.
The European Union granted funding to INTERPOL for the development and implementation of a police information system for ECOWAS member states and Mauritania, which would be connected regionally, by developing a regional platform for Police data exchange.
WAPIS programmes were therefore launched in phases in its 15 member states and the funding of its programme was to end in June 2022.
WAPIS programme is funded by EU and implemented by INTERPOL.
It receives political and strategic support from ECOWAS.
WAPIS system has been designed for the use at three levels: national, regional and international.
At the national level, WAPIS programme aims to make a central computerized system available to law enforcement services, pooling resources and allowing police information to be collected, organized and shared.
This system allows the processing of data collected during criminal investigations.
At the regional level, INTERPOL works with national and regional authorities, under the auspices of ECOWAS to develop and set up a regional police data exchange platform for ECOWAS member states and Mauritania.
The platform allows instant exchange of authorized police data between countries. Officers could readily know whether an individual is wanted by another country.
At the International level WAPIS system is connected to the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in order to share authorized national data worldwide through its 24/7 system.
WAPIS Ghana over the years has about 18,000 convicts and documents inputted into its database and data is continually being stored and queried by institutions to assist their investigations.
This has also led to an increased inter-agency cooperation among stakeholders in the fight against crime. Security agencies can easily access information on convicts and wanted persons.
The WAPIS Centre housed at the Criminal Investigations Department building, has deployed over 37 equipment to its stakeholders in Ghana.
These include scanners, monitors, Computers among others.
Currently series of training programmes are being held for its administrator, validators and national trainers.