INTERPOL opens new regional bureau in Central America

1 September 2003

SAN SALVADOR - INTERPOL, the world's largest international police organization, on September 1, 2003, opened an important new bureau in the Salvadoran capital in an effort to enhance regional police cooperation in Central America.

The new INTERPOL Sub-Regional Bureau will support police in El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica by providing improved communication and coordination for police investigations of cross-border crime.

INTERPOL's General Secretariat in Lyon, France, and its national central bureaus in 181 member countries already assist the world's police through instantaneous communication of criminal information, wanted notices and analysis of crime trends. The San Salvador regional bureau, the fifth such operation in the INTERPOL network, will further develop and coordinate those efforts by focusing on local crime issues.

'Borders mean nothing to today's criminals and we know that better policing requires continuous improvements in international police cooperation,' INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said. 'A lot of important work gets done by staff at Lyon and in INTERPOL offices worldwide, but it is also extremely important to have coordinating centres in regions like Central America.'

INTERPOL now maintains sub-regional bureaus in San Salvador, Buenos Aires, Abidjan, Nairobi and Harare. There is also an INTERPOL liaison office in Bangkok.

'We are working in close cooperation with our colleagues in the region and, thanks to better exchange of information, Central America is more secure, we share successful experiences in our areas and we optimize our resources,' said El Salvador's Vice-Minister of Public Security, Rene Dominguez Calderon.

Saul Hernandez, Deputy Superintendent of Salvador's National Civil Police and interim head of the INTERPOL Sub-Regional Bureau, said: 'INTERPOL's existing national central bureaus have common objectives. But Central American police now have an important new office in San Salvador that will work to improve coordination and improve security in the region as a whole.'

Among the many regional crime problems to be addressed by the new INTERPOL bureau are drug and arms trafficking, money laundering, corruption, financial and high tech crime and trafficking in human beings.

INTERPOL was set up in 1923 to facilitate cross-border police cooperation. The organization is committed to delivering services on a regional basis, recognizing the diversity of regional policing needs and the current political landscape.