Interpol addresses ‘new century of criminal threats’

Crime Reporter

TOP police officers from around the world, including Zimbabwe are conducting a meeting in Lyon, France, aimed at discussing the future of combating transnational crime during the Interpol annual conference for National Central Bureaux.

Present in each of Interpol’s 195 member countries, the bureaux are the unique point of contact linking the global police organisation to national law enforcement.

The 17th Heads of NCB conference is a leading platform for international police cooperation, allowing senior police officers invaluable face time with their counterparts from other countries and regions.

NCBs also help shape Interpol’s operational priorities throughout the meeting, this year addressing efforts to enhance the compatibility of national police data with Interpol systems and strengthening cooperation in the areas of cybercrime, human trafficking and emerging forms of terrorism.

Addressing the senior officers in France, Interpol President Mr Ahmed Naser al-Raisi illustrated the economic and technological transformations that had re-shaped the world throughout Interpol’s 100 years of existence.

“In 1923, when the International Criminal Police Commission (as Interpol was then called) was created, radios had just been installed in police cars and cell phones, computers and the internet were science fiction,” he said.

“Now, digital technologies are central to Interpol’s operations. A new era of cybercrime is challenging police and environmental crimes threaten the planet.”

Demonstrating the digital transformation of crime, an Interpol-led crackdown on online fraud that concluded last week saw more than 1 000 suspects arrested and approximately US$130 million in illicit funds intercepted.

Interpol Secretary-General Dr Jürgen Stock said: “The criminal landscape has grown increasingly complex, and so has the global law enforcement architecture.

“With the emergence of new specialised agencies or regional police networks, the central role of NCBs and Interpol remains pivotal. This is our shared duty: to connect the dots and link the different networks together.”

The Heads of NCB meeting will see the Interpol General Secretariat present a range of forward-looking policing capabilities to support member countries. 

These include: enriching the data shared through INSIGHT, an analytical platform powered by artificial intelligence; upgrading Interpol’s international child sexual exploitation database to speed up the process by which investigators identify victims in child exploitation material; and streamlining case-related information management through smart case messaging under the i-core programme.

“NCBs play a crucial role in ensuring that Interpol’s new policing tools are available to, and used by national law enforcement agencies, including frontline officers. Each NCB stands at the centre of a national galaxy of its own,” said Dr Stock.

The exchange of police data, central to Interpol’s work since the organisation’s founding, is relied upon by law enforcement more than ever before.

Police search Interpol databases more than 20 million times each day, which equates to around 250 searches per second.

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