INTERPOL meeting in Budapest to steer European collaborative strategy against transnational crime
BUDAPEST, Hungary – Senior law enforcement officials from throughout Europe are gathering in Budapest for the 42nd INTERPOL European Regional Conference in order to boost regional strategic responses to contemporary international security threats.
With the global dimensions between local and regional security issues under the spotlight, the role of strategic cross-sector partnerships and INTERPOL’s global network in addressing modern policing challenges will be high on the agenda during the three-day conference (14-16 May).
Some 140 participants from 50 countries and six international organizations, including Europol, will review areas such as human and drug trafficking, cybercrime, terrorism, fugitive investigations and financial crime, as well as capacity building and training.
Hungary’s Minister of Interior, Sándor Pintér, said in his opening address that the conference came at a time when police officers faced a set of new challenges brought by globalization in the age of information technology, including new modus operandi in the areas of cross-border organized crime, cybercrime and terrorism.
“International police cooperation is more important today than ever before. It is INTERPOL, as an alliance of 190 member states, that can provide international support in the most efficient and quickest way,” said Interior Minister Pintér.
Hungary’s Minister of Interior added that in areas such as cybercrime, where physical borders are hard to define, the support and contact network of global law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL was crucial for law enforcement to be effective.
“Cooperation and coordination between INTERPOL and authorities across all sectors in the European region and beyond is vital to contend with the interconnected and globalized nature of 21st century transnational crime,” said INTERPOL President Mireille Ballestrazzi.
The President of INTERPOL cited how the increasing sophistication of information and communication technology also means that countries are facing new forms of crime, with the ‘borderless and anonymous’ nature of cybercrime presenting its own unique law enforcement challenges.
With a recent case where in a matter of hours some USD 45 million dollars was stolen from cash machines in 26 countries in a coordinated criminal operation across the Internet, and with some estimates putting the cost of cybercrime at EUR 90 billion in 2012, the delegates heard how from 2014 the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore will considerably support the international community’s efforts against cybercrime.
President Ballestrazzi also underlined the strength of INTERPOL’s operational partnerships with international and regional organizations in Europe, including Europol, the European Union, the OSCE, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association, together with the continuing need for ‘interoperability’ between law enforcement systems and databases within and beyond Europe.
In this respect, INTERPOL and the European Commission launched the INTERPOL West African Police Information System (WAPIS) programme in 2012 to establish a common police information system in Western Africa. Through a system of automated national databases, police forces in 16 African countries will be able to collect, analyse and share information regionally and internationally.
“The strength of our Organization lies in our will to work together, because while we share the same challenges, we can also share our successes. More than at any time in the last century, cooperation between police forces, regional and international organizations, and with the private and public sectors will determine our future success,” concluded President Ballestrazzi.
Officials at the conference will look to recommend a series of measures to optimize the use of the tools developed under the INTERPOL Firearms Programme, promote international action in the recovery of illegal assets, enhance INTERPOL’s cooperation with Europol to fight cybercrime, and facilitate international police cooperation by developing interoperability between police information systems.