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31 December 2012 - Media release

2012 – Another historic year for INTERPOL

LYON, France – More than one billion searches were performed against INTERPOL’s databases by police worldwide and more than 9,000 individuals wanted internationally via INTERPOL were arrested.

A record number of member countries and delegates participated in INTERPOL’s General Assembly in Rome which also brought together some 100 Ministers from around the globe to focus on criminal violence issues in the largest-ever meeting of its kind.

Delegates and INTERPOL officials were also received by the Head of the Vatican City State, Pope Benedict XVI. Describing INTERPOL ‘as a bastion of international security’, Pope Benedict XVI said the response to violence and crime cannot be delegated to the forces of law and order alone, and that everyone has a ‘particular responsibility in building a future of justice and peace.’

The election of France’s Mireille Ballestrazzi as the new and first ever female President of INTERPOL marked another example of INTERPOL’s evolution, reflecting the active role of both men and women in the international law enforcement community.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada contributed more than EUR 6 million to support INTERPOL’s priority crime areas including terrorism, organized crime and trafficking in human beings. More than 600 law enforcement officers and partner agencies benefited from the Capacity building programmes and more than one hundred projects to expand access to INTERPOL’s tools and services via I-24/7 were launched in over 40 countries.

Ten years since the creation of INTERPOL Major Events Support Teams and Incident Response Teams, 2012 saw more than 20 deployments around the world to support national authorities in events ranging from the Olympic Games in London, to assisting in the gathering of DNA and forensic evidence relating to the slaughter of elephants by poachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Embracing law enforcement officials and regulators from more than 100 countries, Operation Pangea V was the largest Internet-based action of its kind targeting the international black market of fake and illicit medicines.  It resulted in more than 18,000 websites linked to illicit online pharmacies being identified and shut down.

As one of only three international organizations to be invited to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul attended by more than 50 heads of state and government, INTERPOL was recognized for its ability to assist member countries in preventing dangerous criminals from trafficking in nuclear and radiological materials.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said the huge advances made throughout 2012 cemented the organization’s position as an essential partner in bringing law enforcement together worldwide to fight serious transnational crime.

“The year 2012 has seen unprecedented use of our network of INTERPOL National Central Bureaus from 190 member countries and our global databases to bring about the arrests of criminals wanted internationally via INTERPOL, and we have coordinated global operations targeting all types of crime, INTERPOL is playing an increasingly important every day role in the lives of frontline police officers,” said Mr Noble.

“We will continue to work with our member countries and all partners to build on these successes in our ongoing mission to make the world a safer place,” concluded the INTERPOL chief.

Other major achievements in 2012 include:

  • ­As part of Operation Tuy in Burkina Faso, the rescue of nearly 400 child trafficking victims forced to work in illegally-operation gold mines and cotton fields. Children as young as six years were taken into care and returned to their families following the largest operation of its kind run in the West African country.
  • The launch of StudentZone, INTERPOL’s new educational website. Aimed at teenagers, the site is also an educational resource for teachers and parents providing information about INTERPOL, its role and how it works with police in each of its 190 member countries in preventing and detecting international crime.
  • The creation of the INTERPOL Global Register (IGR), a pioneering solution in combating the trafficking of illicit goods by verifying products through their unique security features. The IGR aims to empower the public, law enforcement and private sector to actively disrupt illicit trade.
  • The launch of INTERPOL Integrated Border Management Task Force, a new concept in border management activity to enhance the use of INTERPOL tools, services, operations and expertise to assist in risk mitigation on border security threats.
  • A record number of DNA hits in one year, with an increase of 62 per cent since 2011.
  • July saw the launch of INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods programme to boost the law enforcement response against a phenomenon which has grown to an unprecedented level. Operations coordinated by INTERPOL saw more than 1,400 people arrested and the seizure of millions of trafficked goods. The key role of business in supporting the initiative was underlined with the decision by Phillip Morris International (PMI) to pledge EUR 15 million over a three-year period to help the world police body develop a strong global programme.
  • An agreement signed with NEC corporation  will provide technical and human resources worth some EUR 7.6 million to establish a Digital Forensic Lab and Cyber-Fusion Centre within INTERPOL’s Digital Crime Centre. Providing national authorities operational support against digital crime, the Centre will be the driving force of the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation which will open in Singapore in 2014.
  • The launch of Project LEAF (Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests) to combat illegal logging and organized forest crime. A 2012 joint UNEP and INTERPOL report revealed that the illegal timber trade by organized crime groups is now estimated to be worth between USD 30 and 100 billion annually.
  • Integrity in Sport Workshops were held in Finland, Guatemala and South Africa to raise awareness of the key contemporary match-fixing issues and threats in football, and to identify good practice and areas for development.
  • In excess of 250 capacity building and training programmes were delivered by INTERPOL to some 8,000 participants from more than 175 member countries.
  • Launch of INTERPOL’s Project RELINC (Rebuilding Libya's Investigative Capability), a European Union-funded initiative to assist Libyan authorities in developing a sustainable capability to identify security threats and investigate criminal and terrorist activity.
  • The creation of the INTERPOL Group of Major Event Security Experts, a groundbreaking initiative by INTERPOL to support the safety and security of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and other major sporting events over the next 10 years.
  • The implementation of new rules governing the processing of data by INTERPOL to enhance the speed, quality and effectiveness of information exchange between INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters and its 190 member countries.