Intelligence-led policing is emerging in INTERPOL member countries as a new and targeted approach to environmental crime.
Within this model, sensitive information is collected, recorded, evaluated and also researched via INTERPOL's unique resources. This enables both INTERPOL and national decision-makers to proactively identify high-risk areas and persons and to devise tailored activities and operations in response.
A vital step towards effective intelligence-led policing is the comprehensive collection of data from our member countries across the world, in order to enable a truly global analysis of environmental crime.
The INTERPOL Ecomessage system provides a uniform intelligence data reporting system for the many different law enforcement agencies involved. These messages are passed from an enforcement agency in one country, via INTERPOL National Central Bureaus, to the relevant agencies in the other countries concerned.
There are several advantages to this workflow:
- Data is shared in a standard format;
- Information passes through secure communications links at all stages of the process;
- The INTERPOL General Secretariat is copied on all messages and the information entered into the Organization's databases where it can then be cross-referenced with other entries.
Equally, there are a number of benefits to investigations:
- INTERPOL criminal analysts can study the data and begin to discern such information as the structure, extent and dynamics of international criminals and organizations involved.
- The reporting country can ask questions or make requests. For example, a customs agency in one country may have seized contraband smuggled from a second country. The Ecomessage system allows the first country to enquire about the exporter or carrier in the second country. In the case of smuggled wildlife, countries can address such issues as the repatriation and preservation of the seized wildlife.
- The cross referencing of material can produce rapid and valuable feedback. For example, if a country reports the arrest of a suspect, the INTERPOL database may reveal the same suspect is wanted on similar charges in a different country, or have prior convictions to his or her name. This information would be of great interest and importance to prosecuting authorities.
The source and destination of environmental intelligence is not necessarily a police agency but is often another designated authority with investigative powers, such as environmental inspectorates and wildlife authorities.
As such, it is imperative to establish secure links and standard operating procedures between INTERPOL National Central Bureaus and the various environmental law enforcement agencies.
The Ecomessage workflow
A local law enforcement officer who wishes to share sensitive information from an investigation follows the workflow described below:
- The local officer uses his chain of command to send sensitive information to the intelligence unit in his local agency.
- The local intelligence unit then sends the sensitive information to the national law enforcement intelligence unit (there can be a need for a memorandum of understanding between agencies if a formal agreement is not in place for the sharing of intelligence).
- The national law enforcement intelligence unit puts the sensitive information into the Ecomessage format and transmits it to the INTERPOL National Central Bureau.
- The INTERPOL National Central Bureau uses INTERPOL's secure global communications system (known as I-24/7) to transmit the intelligence to relevant INTERPOL National Central Bureaus in other countries. The INTERPOL General Secretariat is copied, with a request that the intelligence be recorded in INTERPOL's global database.
- The receiving INTERPOL National Central Bureaus then disseminate the information to the appropriate national law enforcement agency and action is taken.
Members of the public are encouraged to contact their national law enforcement agency (police, customs or environmental government agencies) if they wish to provide sensitive information and help in investigations, using the Ecomessage system.
Sharing Information with Law Enforcement: Practical Guidelines
We have developed guidelines to enable members of the public and other stakeholders to report environmental crimes more effectively, using the Ecomessage system. The guidelines describe the types of information that are most valuable to law enforcement agencies.
2011 Quarterly Intelligence Reports (These have been discontinued until further notice)