Ghanaian Regional and District Councils meet in search of solutions to share information and seek civil society allies in the fight against terrorism
Ghana is facing a significant threat and expansion of jihadist terrorism. The attacks in Burkina Faso in recent months have led to the establishment of a curfew in twelve areas of northern Ghana due to their proximity.
The fight against terrorism requires coordination and collaboration from all those involved in the fight against it. Therefore, it is also important to raise awareness in society in order for them to collaborate with the security forces. The intelligence factor, i.e. the exchange of information, and the prevention of radicalisation and violent extremism, are also very important in this fight. For this reason, the European NORPREVSEC project is working to improve both areas in Ghana.
In the framework of the project, a workshop has been organised to introduce the Regional Security Councils (REGSEC) and the District Security Councils (DICSEC), where all security agencies are represented at regional and district level in order to coordinate in case of attacks or public disorder. The objective of these councils is to implement a system of community awareness in the five northern regions, as the relationship between the security agencies and the public is currently minimal, and through these councils, channels of communication can be increased and implemented, which are fundamental to the objectives set out in Ghana’s national security strategy.
The workshop was opened by the regional minister, the highest representative of the Ghanaian government in the five northern regions, and he emphasised the importance of the NORPESVEC project in order to achieve the common objectives of the five regions, the fight against terrorism.
The workshop was organised with the aim of informing on the objectives of the national security strategy, establishing channels of communication between the police and the public and communicating the need for collaboration in the current situation in the north of the country. In addition, it opened a debate between speakers and participants, which led to the conclusion that there is a need for a system of coordination between the different security agencies that provide services in the north of Ghana, as there is currently no system or common database to effectively implement the exchange of information, and this means that a person detected at a border cannot be identified if they are being sought for having committed a crime or if they are of police interest for any reason.
During the workshop, a router was implemented in the Tamale region of Ghana, connecting the region to the Data Collection and Registration Centre (DACORE) of the INTERPOL WAPIS programme, a West African database implemented in 16 countries with the support of INTERPOL’s databases. The objective is to establish a single database for all security agencies in Ghana in order to standardise and increase operational capacity. So far, two terminals have been installed in the Tamale office and this has enabled them to work with the WAPIS database. As an example and to see how it works, information on the investigation being carried out on a Tamale resident who steals vehicles and sells them in Burkina Faso was displayed.
The implementation of this information system will help the Northern Region of Ghana to exchange information between the different cities and to be able to monitor crimes more effectively.