Terrorism that makes use of CBRNE materials (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives) poses a clear threat to public health and safety, national security and economic and political stability on a global level. Accordingly, the prevention of such incidents is of the highest priority.
The threat of CBRNE terrorism is evolving and, with it, the risk of incidents intended to maximize the number of victims on a global scale. We know that terrorist groups are working hard to acquire CBRNE materials and the expertise to use them in their operations.
Preventing CBRNE terrorism
The INTERPOL methodology for countering the threat of CBRNE consists of three main pillars:
- Operational data services
- Investigative support
- Capacity building
Operational data services
We publish a regular analytical report, shared with our member countries and other subscribers. The INTERPOL CBRNE Monthly Digest summarizes relevant open source reporting about all aspects of CBRNE crime and terrorism and builds upon this, month by month, to provide an analytical perspective of particular news reports of interest, using available data and knowledge.
On request, INTERPOL can provide operational support to its member countries in the form of an Incident Response Team. In the event of a terrorist attack, staff with expertise in CBRNE matters can be deployed in these teams. In addition, we run a number of initiatives, projects and operations to support the international law enforcement community in tackling the illicit trafficking of CBRNE materials.
Operation Fail Safe
This is an initiative to counter nuclear smuggling, which was launched at the Nuclear Security Summit in 2012.
Operation Fail Safe supports the international law enforcement community in tracking the transnational movement of individuals involved in the illicit trafficking of nuclear or other radioactive materials.
The INTERPOL CHASE Programme is a global effort to counter the international smuggling of chemicals used to manufacture chemical and explosive devices. It uses a multi-agency and multinational approach to deliver advanced chemical, explosive and investigative training to member countries. These skills are then applied in the field through Chemical Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Operations, coordinated by INTERPOL and supported by the Organization’s range of databases, tools and services.
The goal of Operation S³OMMET is to enhance the safety and security of biological materials and introduce, and enhance, disease surveillance in regions where it is most needed. This is achieved by raising awareness among law enforcement, public health officials, biosafety professionals and academia. Workshops are designed to build capacities and assess gap analysis, so that bespoke tool kits can be provided to participating countries. The initiative is run in collaboration with the International Federation for Biosafety Associations (IFBA) and the Connecting Organisations for Regional Disease Surveillance (CORDS).
Given the gravity of a CBRNE terrorist attack and its consequences, prevention constitutes an essential element in both national and international strategies.
In order to help prevent such attacks, we carry out the following activities:
- Conduct threat assessments and analysis;
- Engage in efforts to increase the level of CBRNE awareness in law enforcement agencies;
- Deliver training sessions in order to increase law enforcement capabilities;
- Provide prevention methodologies for use by member countries.
Working in partnership
Due to the complex nature of CBRNE prevention and response, a multi-disciplinary approach is essential. Action needs to be coordinated at a national governmental level, ensuring close cooperation and information exchange between the various ministries, agencies and institutions involved: from those specialized in CBRNE materials regulation and security, to public health and law enforcement.
This inter-agency approach needs to be extended on an international level. At INTERPOL, we work in the global arena, connecting our worldwide network of member countries and maintaining close partnerships with other international agencies that are specialized in the CBRNE field.
One of INTERPOL’s key partners in its efforts to combat CBRNE terrorism is the European Police Agency, Europol. As the European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol’s mission is to support its member states in preventing and combating all forms of serious international crime and terrorism.
European Union CBRN Centres of Excellence Initiative
The EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence project aims to implement a coordinated strategy for CBRN risk mitigation at international, regional and national levels. The origin of the risk can be criminal (proliferation, theft, sabotage and illicit trafficking), accidental (industrial catastrophes, in particular chemical or nuclear, waste treatment and transport) or natural (mainly pandemics). Launched in 2010, this EU initiative is implemented jointly by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
G8 Global Partnership
INTERPOL is an observing international organization at the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction. This is an initiative by 27 countries to prevent terrorists from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction.
We work closely with both the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 Committee and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) in order to actively support the implementation of the Resolution’s guidelines.
UNSC Resolution 1540 was conceived as the legal cornerstone of the international mechanism established to prevent non-state actors and terrorists from accessing CBRNE materials in order to use them in perpetrating their malicious acts. INTERPOL’s support for this goal is highly focused on the implementation of real and pragmatic tools across law enforcement agencies around the world.