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23 September 2011

INTERPOL radiological and nuclear investigations training course in Poland seeks to boost common action plan

WARSAW, Poland – Representatives of 10 Eastern European countries gathered last week to learn how to conduct effective investigations into instances of suspected criminal acts involving radiological and nuclear (RN) weapons, materials and technology. Experienced investigators from law enforcement, customs and other security forces teamed up with their country’s public health and nuclear regulatory agencies to tackle the problem of preventing, preparing for and investigating illicit use and trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials.

The course (12-15 September) followed INTERPOL’s Global RN Prevention Conference in Lyon in May this year and is the pilot course of the Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Unit. Following the lead of its sister program at INTERPOL's Bioterrorism Prevention Unit, the INTERPOL RN team looks to provide trainings on how to effectively lead intelligence-driven, prevention-orientated investigations.

While focused specifically on law enforcement activities within an interagency approach, leading the fight against radiological and nuclear terrorism calls for a closing of ranks and co-operation across the spectrum of international and national agencies.

Polish Chief of Police Commander General Andrzej Matejuk thanked INTERPOL for reaching out to Poland and other countries in the region. In his opening remarks, General Matejuk underlined how “fighting radiological and nuclear threats is one of our priorities during the Polish Presidency of the EU,” and described the course as ““a unique occasion to participate in discussions and practical exercises which will allow participants to work out a common action plan against radiological and nuclear terror threats”.

During the week in Warsaw, the 29 participants from 10 countries were not only introduced to the theory and science behind the production, trafficking and illicit usage of RN materials, but also took part in exercises in the field with mobile detection systems provided by the US Department of Energy’s Second Line of Defense, as well as in interactive exercises simulating nuclear forensics investigations.

The course gathered 4-person multi-agency teams from 10 countries from the region: Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.

The team of instructors also reflected the international, multi-agency connections INTERPOL strives to foster in the CBRNe (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) realm. They came from a host of international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and national law enforcement and public health agencies from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.