South Africa and Italy sign police cooperation agreement

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Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa and his Italian counterpart, Minister of Interior Annamaria Cancellieri, yesterday signed an agreement on police cooperation between the two countries.

The two ministers held bilateral discussions yesterday morning in Parliament in Cape Town. The talks centred on promoting cooperation between South Africa Italy in preventing, combating and investigating crime, recognizing the importance of international cooperation in combating transnational organised crime. Also in attendance during the discussions were the Minister of State Security, Siyabonga Cwele and the Italian Ambassador, Vincenzo Schioppa.
“Criminal syndicates globally are becoming sophisticated but it is hoped that through this agreement, law enforcement agencies from both countries will be able to cooperate and ensure that together we break the backbone of these syndicate. From our side as South Africa, we shall spare neither strength nor effort to ensure that criminals fail in this acts and intentions. We therefore welcome this cooperation from our counterparts from Italy as we see it as additional arsenal in our efforts of fighting crime,” stated Mthethwa.

The agreement further encompasses cooperation of trafficking in transnational organised crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, firearm trafficking, terrorism as well as crowd management and event security. “We further outlined and agreed to enhance various ways of consolidating and exchanging of working experience and information necessary to combat crime and to explore further mechanisms to cooperate and assist each other in the field of combating crime in accordance with the domestic law of their countries as well as their international obligations,” added Mthethwa.

Cancellieri said that, “Italy recognises the particular importance of the agreement that has been signed today within the framework of international and the European Union politics, with a view to strengthening the security and development of Africa. The signature of the agreement underlines the common interest to intensify the collaboration between our two countries in all the sectors of strategic interest like the fight against cyber crime, organised transnational criminality, illicit drug trafficking, psychotropic substances and their precursors, trafficking of migrants, arms trafficking, human trafficking and terrorism. During the meeting it was also pointed out of the necessity to strengthen cooperation in searching and capturing of criminals at large.”

To ensure effective implementation of this agreement, both ministers agreed on an effective manner of cooperation, which will include ongoing exchange of information on crime and criminal organizations, legislation and scientific tools to combat crime and exchanging information relating to training and use of specialised technique to combat crime.

Furthermore, both ministries undertook to put in place measures to assist each other with regard to special investigations, exchanging information on methods to combat human trafficking, information on passports and other travel documents. To facilitate the agreement, representatives of the competent authorities may, when necessary, have bilateral meetings and consultations to access progress and discuss issues. The meetings will take place alternately in Italy and South Africa.

Cancellieri further added that “besides an efficient exchange of best practices, the agreement will have an even more important role in the operational cooperation between the police forces of Italy and South Africa for the reciprocal assistance in the management of big events, which entail consequences from the point of view of public order and security. This cooperation will be carried out through the exchange of information and the adoption of the necessary measures for the implementation of special investigative techniques.”

One of the crucial issues in the agreement focused on terrorism. It is the view of both ministers that no country can claim to be immune to terrorist acts but through global cooperation, terrorism can be averted, the South African Ministry of Police and Italian Ministry of Interior said in a joint statement. To this end, both South Africa and Italy will cooperate in preventing and suppressing terrorist acts in accordance with the domestic law in force in their countries and their international obligations.

Both ministries shall also exchange information on working experience in respect of working closely to assist each other during investigations and searching for persons who are evading criminal prosecution or execution of a sentence and also for persons who are reported missing.

It is the endearing hope of both ministries and with further affirmation and commitment to work together in defeating crime; because this is a global scourge and challenge which requires global partnerships and cooperation, the Ministry of Police and Ministry of Interior concluded.