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.
Chemical and explosives terrorism
The use of chemical and explosive materials by criminals and terrorist groups poses a significant threat in every country. As well as endangering public safety on a large-scale, such attacks can severely impact economic and political stability.
High-profile incidents have affected all regions of the world – such as bombings in Abuja, Boston, London, Madrid, Moscow, Mumbai and Oklahoma, and chemical attacks on the Tokyo subway and in Syria.
At INTERPOL, we support the efforts of member countries to deter, detect and disrupt the use of chemicals in terrorist incidents. We work to prevent criminals from diverting, smuggling and using chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals and explosive precursor chemicals.
Sharing and analysing information
INTERPOL carries out the following activities related to information and intelligence:
- Collecting and sharing information on terrorist attacks involving the use of chemical and explosive materials;
- Analysing the methodologies of terrorist groups;
- Identifying emerging threats;
- Contributing details of chemical and explosive incidents to the INTERPOL CBRNE Monthly Digest, along with analysts’ commentaries;
- Producing analytical reports at the request of member countries or international organizations.
No single government or organization is able to address alone the problem of chemical and explosive terrorism. Education and awareness programmes targeting government authorities, police services and the chemical industry form the cornerstone of INTERPOL’s chemical and explosives terrorism prevention efforts.
INTERPOL’s capacity building programmes promote countermeasure activities designed to identify, interdict and investigate the illicit diversion of chemicals. The training courses are designed to improve member countries’ chemical security both within their national borders and in cooperation with neighbouring countries in order to prevent the smuggling of chemicals across international borders. Other training courses develop the knowledge and leadership skills of senior law enforcement officials based in border and chemical security agencies.
Chemical Anti-Smuggling Enforcement (CHASE) Programme
The INTERPOL CHASE Programme is a global effort to counter the international smuggling of chemicals used to manufacture chemical and explosive devices. It increases the capacity of police, customs, border forces, immigration and security agencies to work collaboratively, and builds on the strengths of individual organizations to expand their information exchange networks.
Programme CHASE uses a multi-agency and multinational approach to deliver advanced chemical, explosive and investigative training to member countries. In a practical application of the skills developed through the CHASE training initiatives, INTERPOL coordinates operations in the field and provides practical support with range of databases, tools and services. The ultimate goal is to identify, interdict and investigate the movement of criminals and the chemical materials they smuggle.
INTERPOL represents the interests of the worldwide law enforcement community and cooperates with a range of partners in the fight against chemical and explosive terrorism. INTERPOL cooperates on a regular basis with other international organizations including:
- World Customs Organization (WCO)
- Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 Committee
- Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
- United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)
- EU CBRN Centers of Excellence
- International Centre for Chemical Safety and Security (ICCSS).
World Customs Organization – Programme Global Shield
Programme Global Shield is a joint initiative of INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). It targets the illicit diversion and trafficking of 14 chemical precursors used by terrorist and other non-state actors in manufacturing improvised explosive devices.
INTERPOL Chemical and Explosives Countermeasure Programme
This Programme is aimed at key law enforcement authorities, government bodies and chemical industry partners. It provides them with the knowledge and tools to implement a national chemical security programme.
By engaging directly with all sections of the chemical industry – including manufacturing, distribution, transportation and retail – the law enforcement community can play a pivotal role in the prevention and early detection of criminals and terrorists seeking to obtain materials to undertake an attack.