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27 February 2009 - Media release

INTERPOL agreement with Forensic Technology will enable first cross-border exchange of ballistics evidence to support crime investigations

LYON, France - INTERPOL has signed an agreement with Forensic Technology Inc. on the use of ballistics technology which will allow INTERPOL to act as the world’s first international hub for the cross-border exchange of ballistics data.

The partnership agreement signed on Friday at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon with Forensic Technology, a Canadian company and developer of IBIS (Integrated Ballistic Identification System), will allow the international electronic exchange and comparison of ballistics data between the 45 countries and territories which are already using the system on a national basis and other countries which will acquire the technology in the future.

“Our work has led us to cities around the world where we have seen the tragic personal and economic suffering resulting from gun-related violence,” said Robert A. Walsh, President of Forensic technology, at the signing ceremony. “This agreement will help give countries the data they need to stop armed criminals and reduce urban gun violence,” he said.

Similar to technology used for fingerprint identification systems, the system captures digital images of the unique microscopic markings found on fired bullets and cartridge cases. An electronic signature is extracted from each image and compared against the database of previously entered images.

The system can identify matches between pairs of spent bullets and cartridge cases within minutes, thereby helping forensic experts give police investigators more timely information about crimes, guns and suspects.  Just as fingerprint data can link crimes across international borders, so too will the transnational sharing of ballistic data -- linking separate crimes across international borders that would otherwise not have been found.

With the agreement providing the vehicle by which ballistics data can be shared and compared on a large-scale transnational basis, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said that it represented an important law enforcement tool.

“As a global police organization, INTERPOL has a responsibility to forge partnerships across all sectors to help its member countries access those necessary tools and resources that will help the work of investigators to prevent and solve crimes,” said Secretary General Noble.

“The use of this technology will greatly benefit international law enforcement in helping to support and develop investigative leads at the national and international level,” Mr Noble concluded.

With law enforcement continually challenged in a more complex and interdependent world to forge partnerships across the public and private sectors, today’s agreement is in line with INTERPOL’s objectives to provide its member countries the necessary international platforms to fight crime.