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10 October 2008 - Media release

INTERPOL praises actions taken by Australian Federal Police in missing backpacker investigation

LYON, France – INTERPOL today commended the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for its proactive and professional investigation into the disappearance of an Australian backpacker who went missing from Croatia in September.

Through the National Central Bureau (NCB) in Canberra, the AFP has provided the National Central Bureau in Croatia with vital background and witness information as part of the efforts to locate 21-year-old Britt Lapthorne who disappeared from Dubrovnik in the early hours of Thursday 18 September.

On the sidelines of the 77th INTERPOL General Assembly in St Petersburg, Australian and Croatian officers have also held a series of bilateral meetings to ensure that efforts are fully co-ordinated.

NCB Canberra has also been in constant contact with INTERPOL’s 24-hour Command and Co-ordination Centre in Lyon which is treating all information provided about Miss Lapthorne’s disappearance as a priority. An INTERPOL Yellow Notice, or global missing persons alert, has been issued for Britt Lapthorne, with its publication on the INTERPOL website requested by Australia.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble praised the AFP’s approach and said criticism of the investigation was unfounded.

'The AFP has made finding Britt Lapthorne a priority.  In my eight years as INTERPOL Secretary General, the AFP has consistently sent the most highly qualified officers to work on international cases.  This case is no different,' said Mr Noble.

'We will continue to work with the AFP, with our Croatian police colleagues and with the entire international police community to find Britt Lapthorne,' added the Secretary General.

Among the resolutions approved by delegates attending the INTERPOL General Assembly in St Petersburg, Russia, this week, was a decision calling on each of the 187 National Central Bureaus to increase their use of public Yellow Notice alerts for missing adults – a resolution strongly supported by the Australian delegation.