100 countries now contributing to INTERPOL stolen travel documents database

26 May 2006

Guyana has become the 100th country to submit information to INTERPOL’s database of stolen and lost travel documents, which now contains more than 11 million records.

INTERPOL launched the database in 2002 after identifying a clear link between terrorist activities and the use of fraudulent travel documents. Many of the documents registered in the database are blank, making them particularly valuable to criminals, who can easily insert photographs, biographic information and aliases.

Since its creation, the database has helped officers in the field identify more than 2,000 travel documents as lost or stolen, including several high-profile cases involving suspected terrorists and war criminals.

INTERPOL also encourages member countries to expand access to the database beyond the INTERPOL National Central Bureau to officers at crucial locations such as airports and border crossings.

In December 2005, Switzerland became the first country to use an integrated solution developed by INTERPOL to expand access to the database to some 20,000 federal agents at border control points, customs and immigration offices and embassies, enabling police to verify instantly whether a travel document is stolen.

Efforts to further expand access to the database to officers in the field are also underway through a series of pilot projects in Asia, the Americas and Europe.

Use of the database has been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, G8, European Union, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, International Civil Aviation Organization and members of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.