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23 October 2012 - Media release

Belgian police chief visit to INTERPOL looks to expand cooperation

LYON, France – Identifying further areas of cooperation in which INTERPOL’s global tools and international law enforcement network can further support national and regional security was the focus of a visit to INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters today by Catherine De Bolle, Commissioner General of the Belgian Federal Police.

In meetings with Secretary General Ronald K. Noble and other senior INTERPOL officials, where a range of activities in which Belgium and INTERPOL work closely together was discussed, Commissioner De Bolle highlighted how cases in the areas of drug and vehicle trafficking, maritime piracy and violent crimes demonstrated the value of INTERPOL’s products and services to police in the field.

“I am strongly committed to enhancing information exchange through INTERPOL’s channels and the use of its global databases by the Belgian police forces,” said Belgium’s Federal Police Chief.

“Since crime does not stop at our borders, nor should the response to it. In this respect, the Belgian Federal Police supports efforts by INTERPOL to strengthen professional international police cooperation, including the establishment of the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore and the development of the West African Police Information System,” added Commissioner De Bolle.

The West African Police Information System (WAPIS), developed by INTERPOL is an EU-funded project initiated during Belgium’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2010. The project allows West African police to access and manage in a structured way police data related to organized crime by facilitating the collection, centralization, management, sharing and analysis of police information among countries belonging to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Welcoming the visit to the world police body by Belgium’s Federal Police Commissioner as an opportunity to identify areas where Belgium and INTERPOL can collaborate ‘even more closely’, INTERPOL Secretary General Noble said: “During its long relationship with INTERPOL, the Belgian Federal Police has demonstrated its leadership in the area of international law enforcement cooperation and it is an essential partner to INTERPOL’s vision for a safer world.”

In this respect, the Head of INTERPOL recalled the ‘exemplary collaborative actions’ taken by Belgium’s Federal Police in  the case of a Somali man suspected of maritime piracy who was extradited from the Seychelles to Belgium in May 2012 after a cross-check of his fingerprints against INTERPOL’s databases in March 2011 linked the suspect with the hijack of Belgian vessel MV Pompei in waters off the Seychelles in April 2009.

Immediately after the release of the hijacked vessel in June 2009, Belgian Federal Police conducted an extensive forensic crime scene investigation of the vessel and its results were added to INTERPOL’s maritime piracy and fingerprints databases.

Later, in March 2011, following the arrest of six Somali nationals in waters off the Seychelles, its police provided INTERPOL with the fingerprints of the individuals to be cross-checked with INTERPOL’s databases. The check revealed that the prints of one of the apprehended individuals matched latent marks seized by Belgian Federal Police on the hijacked Belgian vessel.

"A global collaborative approach to security involving countries sharing intelligence, connecting the dots and maximizing the use of INTERPOL's global police tools is today key to effectively protecting citizens across regions and worldwide," concluded Secretary General Noble.

Commissioner De Bolle was accompanied by Dirk Allaerts, Head of Cabinet, Peter De Buyschere, Director of International Police Cooperation, Michel Croquet, Director of Operational Police Information and Head of INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Brussels, and Alain Barbier, Assistant Director in Brussels at the office of the Special Representative of INTERPOL to the European Union.