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.

Investigative Support

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.

Operation Chase

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.  

Operation S³OMMET

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).

Capacity Building

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.

United Nations

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.


29 January 2016

INTERPOL nuclear trafficking conference looks ahead to 2016 Nuclear Summit

27 January 2016

INTERPOL conference targets global nuclear trafficking

22 January 2016

INTERPOL training course targets chemical smuggling

13 November 2015

Cross-border collaboration on biological incident investigations focus of INTERPOL workshop

23 October 2015

INTERPOL course aims to boost efforts against chemical attacks

22 October 2015

Nuclear and radiological terrorism focus of INTERPOL exercise in Thailand

02 October 2015

Cambodia hosts INTERPOL training against smuggling of chemicals

23 September 2015

INTERPOL and FBI to forge closer ties against terrorism and cybercrime

04 September 2015

International Leaders’ Forum backs creation of Global Alliance to combat IED threat

02 September 2015

Tackling global threat of improvised explosive devices focus of international forum

23 July 2015

Enhancing law enforcement response capability for disease outbreaks focus of INTERPOL workshop

07 May 2015

Identifying biological threats to strengthen response capability focus of workshop

29 April 2015

Addressing threat of agroterrorism focus of INTERPOL meeting

09 April 2015

Operation targeting chemical smuggling in Asia nets hijacked ship

13 March 2015

US Congressional visit to INTERPOL focuses on combating terrorism

10 March 2015

Jordan hosts bioterrorism preparedness table top exercise

12 December 2014

Enhancing resilience against biological threats focus of INTERPOL workshop

11 December 2014

Moldova police arrest seven suspected uranium smugglers

09 December 2014

United Nations counter-terrorism task force set to strengthen cooperation with INTERPOL

26 September 2014

INTERPOL workshop in Ethiopia supports efforts to boost resilience against biological threats

08 July 2014

FBI-INTERPOL symposium to enhance global preparedness in securing critical infrastructure

25 June 2014

Investigating and preventing chemical and explosives terrorism focus of INTERPOL conference in Thailand

25 March 2014

Nuclear Security Summit calls for greater information-sharing with INTERPOL

21 February 2014

Workshop builds cooperation in enhancing radiological and nuclear security

Basic Biosafety Training

INTERPOL video PPE level C