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13 October 2009 - Media release

INTERPOL issues its first ever passports

SINGAPORE – INTERPOL today issued its first ever passports which will enable Heads of National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and staff to travel internationally without requiring a visa when assisting in transnational investigations or urgent deployments to incidents.

Two countries, Pakistan and Ukraine, have already agreed to waive visa entry requirements for INTERPOL passport bearers, recognizing that those individuals will be travelling on behalf of the organization in the furtherance of international police co-operation.

Without the delay of visa processing procedures, any INTERPOL team can be immediately deployed to scenes of terrorist events, major crimes or natural disasters and officials from NCBs can easily cross borders to assist in fugitive extraditions.

The first member of the Executive Committee to receive the new passport, INTERPOL President Khoo Boon Hui, said that the document would significantly support the organization’s work.

“As the world’s largest police organization, INTERPOL needs to remain at the forefront of all activity which enhances member country security and safety,” said President Khoo.

“The INTERPOL passport contains state-of-the-art features that will not only facilitate the carrying out of important INTERPOL business worldwide, but will also serve as an example for the standards which should be implemented worldwide for travel document security.”

Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said that as more countries waived their visa requirements for INTERPOL passport holders, the more effective the organization’s support would become and he urged all member countries to seek the necessary governmental recognition and approval.

“When member countries ask INTERPOL for assistance to prevent, investigate, or respond to any terrorist act, serious crime or natural disaster, the safety and security of their citizens may depend on INTERPOL being in place as fast as possible,” said Secretary General Noble.

“That a person is travelling with an INTERPOL passport for official business should be all the information a country needs in order to grant them access. By agreeing to waive visas for INTERPOL passport holders, member countries will ultimately be assisting themselves,” added Mr Noble.

The presentation of the INTERPOL passport, which has been designed and developed by the EDAPS Consortium, comes during the organization’s General Assembly in Singapore attended by more than 800 senior law enforcement officials from 153 countries.

Key issues to be discussed during the five-day meeting are the provision of enhanced operational support, particularly in relation to the expansion and increased use of INTERPOL’s DNA and fingerprint databases by frontline officers in member countries to help solve crimes and identify fugitives through data comparison; encouraging member countries to use tools to block access to online child abuse images; and establishing an information exchange platform for national anti-corruption bodies and the creation of a strategic anti-corruption information database.

The global reach of the world’s largest police organization was further extended following the acceptance of Samoa as INTERPOL’s newest member country, bringing the total number to 188 countries.