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01 April 2008

Reinforcing INTERPOL National Central Bureaus key to 21st century policing

LYON, France – Senior police officials from around the world attending INTERPOL’s Heads of National Central Bureaus (NCBs) conference heard that their key role in facilitating international co-operation and collaboration have placed them at the heart of global efforts against crime in the 21st century.

Providing an annual forum for the top INTERPOL officers in member countries to meet their counterparts and be updated on the development of operational policing tools at the General Secretariat, this year’s three-day meeting will focus on initiatives to strengthen the organization’s day-to-day operational capabilities through police training and development, which INTERPOL designated as its fourth core function in 2007.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble told the conference in his opening speech that the concepts of ‘21st-century policing’ and ‘capacity-building’ cannot exist without the other, and that they have come to define the relationship between INTERPOL as an organization and its network of 186 NCBs.

'INTERPOL’s ambitious vision for 21st-century policing calls for a new approach to fighting terrorism and other serious transnational crime, an approach that moves international policing from the sidelines to front and centre, psychologically and operationally,' said Mr Noble.

As part of this vision he called for NCBs to identify police experts in a wide variety of specialties – from computer forensics to victim identification to ballistics – who can be called upon to respond to an urgent request for assistance from another country or region whose own resources or expertise may be lacking.

He cited as an example the deployment of an INTERPOL Incident Response Team (IRT) to Colombia in March made up of officials from the General Secretariat in Lyon and computer forensic experts from Australia and Singapore, to assist authorities with the forensic examination of laptops and other materials seized during an operation targeting a FARC rebel camp.

'A highly effective NCB is one which acts as a hub for international police co-operation, providing police officers with expertise and assistance in international police matters,' said Secretary General Noble.

Mr. Noble also announced the nomination of former Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli to lead INTERPOL’s Operational Assistance, Services and Infrastructure Support (OASIS) project in Africa. The four-year programme was launched after the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs pledged EUR 24 million to assist INTERPOL member countries in Africa to more effectively combat national and transnational crime in the region.