Africa-Press – Lesotho. The United States (U. S. ) Embassy in Maseru hosted a team of law enforcement agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) to conduct
the first phase of a potential multi-year project to create the Kingdom of Lesotho’s first national criminal fingerprint database. In a press statement dated September 24,
the U. S. Embassy stated that at the request of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) to help address some of the country’s most critical national
security priorities, the CJIS agents scanned and digitized nearly 70,000 criminal fingerprint records, some dating back as far as the 1960s, to begin the first phase of the database system.
“Future activities will include an assessment of Lesotho’s forensic lab, the signing of a Memorandum of
Cooperation, and additional skills training, all moving toward the goal of standing up a modernized digital database,” reads the statement. It added that the increased
collaboration between Lesotho’s law enforcement agencies and their U. S. counterparts in the creation of the fingerprint database is a meaningful step
forward in significantly advancing Lesotho’s border security priorities by providing the skills and equipment necessary to better identify threats to Lesotho’s
national security and aid the country in solving other violent crimes. “Last week’s FBI visit kicked off with a series of skills-sharing activities focused on technological and
investigation best practices as part of a broadened law enforcement partnership between the United States and the Kingdom of Lesotho. A Diplomatic Security
Service visit is planned for later this year, to support increased collaboration on human trafficking in Lesotho and Southern Africa,” it further noted and highlighted that early 2022, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service
team will visit Lesotho to train government and law enforcement agencies on investigation techniques. U. S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Jasmine White, in an interview with Informative Newspaper on Monday,
enlightened that in 2020, the LMPS Forensics Laboratory along with the U. S. Embassy developed a plan for the border security fingerprint initiative after
identifying the challenges associated with Lesotho police investigators having to solely rely on searching manual fingerprint cards to conduct detailed
criminal records checks. “This collaboration stems from our bilateral interest to expand U. S. -Lesotho law enforcement cooperation aimed at building and enhancing local capabilities and capacity.
Specifically, the initiative will increase a positive investigatory outcome which is the measure of success in crime reduction,” White explained. She added that the planning for the
next phase of this expanded partnership is underway with their law enforcement colleagues and agencies in the United States. Asked about what are other law
enforcement agencies in Lesotho other than LMPS to be conducted to help address some of the country’s most critical national security priorities like Lesotho
Defense Force (LDF and National Security Services (NSS), White said; “Yes, the U. S. Embassy in Maseru is planning a series of long-term programs with various
agencies to address the security situation in Lesotho and throughout Southern Africa. If implemented, these programs will allow Lesotho to smartly cultivate and sustain its own law enforcement
capabilities over time, whereby Lesotho will not have to rely on superficial systems that were conceived without input and approval from the country’s own national security apparatus,” she noted.