Manila -- INTERPOL's 18th Asian Regional Conference ended on Wednesday with agreement among delegates from 37 countries to increase co-operation and information-sharing in the fight against international crime, and to make more use of INTERPOL databases and communications services in their work.
Senior police officers and security experts from INTERPOL's Asian regional division had gathered in the Philippines capital, Manila, for talks on the important security and policing issues facing Asian countries.
The conference agreed that more police officers in their countries should be appointed to work directly with INTERPOL's National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and its special liaison office in Bangkok, Thailand.
Delegates also agreed to move quickly to connect all countries in Asia to INTERPOL's new I-24/7 global police communication system. At present, 93 of INTERPOL's 181 member countries have connected to the system, which uses state of the art technology with secured Internet connections for heavily encrypted criminal data and police messages. Eleven of INTERPOL's 24 member countries in Asia are connected.
The conference endorsed INTERPOL's recent efforts to increase its range of services aimed at combating terrorism and agreed to give full support to the organisation's Fusion Task Force, which facilitates information sharing on terrorism suspects, terrorist training camps, and other terrorist activities and methods.
'INTERPOL is absolutely essential not only to the world's anti-terrorist fight but to any one country's fight against terrorism,' Secretary General Ronald K. Noble told delegates.
'Even if the March 11, 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid, Spain, had not occurred, we would have agreed that fighting all aspects of terrorism should continue to be among INTERPOL's highest priorities'.
Mr Noble emphasised the importance of member countries using INTERPOL's range of databases, in particular its rapidly-expanding database of stolen travel documents. Many of those stolen passports and other travel documents are found to have been used in serious international crimes and by terrorist groups.
Delegates at the conference also agreed that the production and use of synthetic drugs in the Asian region posed an increasing threat and called for enhanced exchange of data about this area of criminal activity. Delegates also recognised the need to focus efforts on identifying victims of the child abuse images distributed and purchased through the Internet.