Vehicle crime initiatives

At INTERPOL, we have set up a number of working groups, bringing together experts from across the world. These working groups have developed a range of projects focusing on specific issues, for example, police training, working with industry and supporting operations in the field.

Delivering training (Project Formatrain)

Project Formatrain has established a standardized training programme to facilitate investigations into international cases of vehicle theft.

Courses are run at basic, intermediate and advanced level in order to assist investigators in areas such as vehicle and document identification; investigative strategies, techniques and tools; the use of INTERPOL's databases and global network; and legal considerations.

The course combines three days of classroom training with a two-day operation or practical exercise, allowing participants to consolidate their new skills by applying them in the field.

Training courses are delivered by a team of international experts, combining law enforcement officers from INTERPOL member countries and partners from the private sector. Courses are carried out on a regional basis, enabling countries to build working relationships and work together more effectively on cross-border cases.

By the end of 2015, a total of 22 regional training courses had been delivered, most of them directly followed by field operations.

Supporting operations (SMV Task Force)

INTERPOL regularly provides technical, organizational and human resources to its member countries to assist with the preparation and implementation of operations related to stolen motor vehicles (SMV).

The Operational INTERPOL SMV Task Force consists of police officers and private investigators – all experts in the field of vehicle crime – from a number of different INTERPOL countries and Europol.

This initiative aims to:

  • Share operational skills and expertise between the different national experts;
  • Improve the speed of access to the different national databases and information sources and thereby increase the accuracy of results;
  • Analyse the outcomes of operations;
  • Start investigations based on these operational outcomes and analysis.

Operational results:

  • Operation Paso del Estrecho (Spain, July - August 2015) arrested some 25 individuals and recovered 40 vehicles;
  • Operation Itacar (Europe-wide, October 2014) led to 469 arrests and recovered 323 stolen vehicles worth more than EUR 5 million;
  • Operation Paso del Estrecho (Spain, July - August 2014) arrested some 15 individuals and recovered nearly 20 vehicles.

Working with car manufacturers (Project INVEX)

We work with a number of car manufacturers to find new ways of detecting stolen motor vehicles and to increase the quality of the data in the Stolen Motor Vehicles database.

Project INVEX currently involves 16 countries and the German car manufacturers Audi, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen and their sub-brands, which all regularly exchange data with INTERPOL. Initiated by the German National Central Bureau, the pilot project started in January 2009 and was adopted later that year at the INTERPOL General Assembly meeting in Singapore.

Since its inception, INVEX has contributed to the detection of stolen cars and components in about 80 member countries, leading to some 500 seizures and various follow-up investigations. Currently, Phase II of Project INVEX is being tested and will see the introduction of other manufacturers as well as an automation of data processing.

Project FADA-RI provides secure access for INTERPOL member countries to the German vehicle identification facility known as FADA. It is a valuable tool for identifying forged vehicles, giving valuable information to vehicle crime investigators. Specifically, the Project focuses on the German manufacturers Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Volkswagen as well as their subsidiary brands.

Fact sheets

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