Bosnia and Herzegovina Security Minister visit focuses on key role of INTERPOL network in enhancing national security
LYON, France – Collaboration and the sharing of police information with INTERPOL to combat transnational organized crime was the focus of a visit today to INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters by the country’s Minister of Security, Sadik Ahmetovic.
Main topics during discussions between Mr Ahmetovic and INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble included the importance of screening passports against INTERPOL’s global database to help track down fugitives and identify transnational organized crime and drug trafficking links.
In April 2008 Bosnia and Herzegovina was among the first countries to expand access to INTERPOL’s databases beyond the country’s National Central Bureau, enabling officers at border checkpoints to carry out instant checks against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database, which now includes more than 21 million entries from some 150 countries, as well as against its Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) database.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of 21 countries in Europe, including 12 in Schengen, having installed the INTERPOL technology enabling border checks against the SLTD, and is one of the highest users of the system, carrying out nearly 1.2 million queries and generating 217 hits in the first six months of 2010 alone.
Out of INTERPOL’s 188 member countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina is the sixth highest user of INTERPOL’s SMV database, and the 17th highest user of its SLTD database.
Minister Ahmetovic said his visit underscored his country’s close co-operation and success in working with INTERPOL.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina have made it a priority to ensure that our external borders are secure and that transnational organized criminals cannot move freely through or inside our borders,” said Minister Ahmetovic.
“INTERPOL’s statistics demonstrate how successfully our police, border control and INTERPOL National Central Bureau officers are co-operating to keep both Bosnia and Herzegovina and indeed all of Europe as safe as possible,” added Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of Security.
Secretary General Noble commended ‘the exemplary action shown by Bosnia and Herzegovina and its National Central Bureau in Sarajevo in making critical information available to frontline police officers, thus making it significantly more difficult for fugitives to evade capture’.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina is not only one of the leading countries in Europe in preventing dangerous criminals from using fraudulent travel documents and stolen motor vehicles to cross borders, but also one of the leading countries in the world, and it is therefore to be commended for its leadership,” said the head of INTERPOL.
Bosnia and Herzegovina also supports INTERPOL’s Project BESA which targets organized crime groups in South East Europe and which resulted in March this year in the arrest of five men and the seizure of more than six kilos of heroin in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The delegation also met with specialized officers at the General Secretariat to discuss INTERPOL projects targeting human trafficking and organized crime activity, including the Pink Panthers Project co-ordinating worldwide investigations of high-value armed jewellery robberies committed across the globe.