LYON, France – Somalia has successfully connected to INTERPOL’s I-24/7 secure global police communications system, filling a crucial gap in cross-border policing efforts in East Africa and throughout the world, as all 186 of INTERPOL’s member countries are now on the system.
The connection of the National Central Bureau (NCB) in Mogadishu on 10 July at 07.00 GMT follows months of preparation by INTERPOL and Somali authorities. It is expected to significantly boost the efforts of law enforcement officers in the region to curb crimes such as trafficking in human beings, motor vehicles, drugs, and small arms and light weapons.
'We knew connecting all countries to the system was not going to be easy, but we also knew the world could not afford to have even one country unable to exchange vital police information and co-operate on transnational investigations with other countries,' said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
'I-24/7 is unique in the international law enforcement community because it gives all National Central Bureaus in our 186 countries direct access to the many police databases managed by INTERPOL and provides a highly secure environment for the rapid exchange of information.'
Since its creation in 2003, INTERPOL has placed a priority on universal connection among member countries, embarking on an ambitious four-year effort to connect all countries regardless of financial or technical considerations.
The first country to connect to I-24/7 was Canada in 2003, and INTERPOL went on to develop innovative solutions to overcome infrastructure and communications challenges in different regions. The bulk of African countries were connected by satellite in 2004.
With all countries now connected to I-24/7, INTERPOL is working on new features and services to increase the network’s value for law enforcement. One key initiative is the expansion of access to the system beyond NCBs to enable front-line officers at strategic locations such as customs and immigration posts to access INTERPOL’s databases on stolen and lost travel documents, stolen motor vehicles and wanted persons.
Other innovations, such as enabling access to the network through mobile phones and laptop computers – currently being tested in Croatia – will mean INTERPOL information can be made available wherever it is needed the most.
'INTERPOL will continue to enhance the system to address the growing challenge for law enforcement officers of securing their national borders and support them to stay one step ahead of terrorists and dangerous criminals,' said Mr Noble.