BEIJING, China – Today’s conclusion of the Paralympics and Summer Games which both passed without any major security incident highlights the success of security efforts for the Games, in particular the collaboration between China, INTERPOL and its liaison officers in Beijing.
It also demonstrates that ensuring security for an event of this scale requires not only a comprehensive domestic security strategy but also an equally wide-ranging and collaborative international effort, within which securing INTERPOL’s global technical and operational police assistance should become standard protocol.
As part of this international effort, INTERPOL produced threat assessments for Chinese authorities, followed up on open-source reports of terrorist and other criminal incidents, and trained Chinese police in crisis and major event operations. It also deployed an INTERPOL Major Events Support Team (IMEST) to Beijing and put its 24/7 Command and Co-ordination Centre (CCC) in Lyon, France, on alert during the Olympics.
Its on-site operational assistance came to the fore when, working with Chinese authorities, it helped determine that the murder of a US citizen in Beijing during the Games was an isolated crime. In a separate case, INTERPOL also sent out a worldwide alert to its 186 National Central Bureaus (NCBs) requesting assistance to locate three Beijing-bound Chilean nationals suspected of belonging to a criminal organization.
"China has long considered security as the most important issue in preparations for the Olympics and Paralympics,” said Mr XUE Dongzheng, Deputy Director General of the International Co-operation Department at the Ministry of Public Security of China. “Many measures were taken on the planning and deployment of forces, intelligence collection and exchange, risk assessment, counter-terrorism, safety control and capacity-building, and China’s close co-operation with INTERPOL on these was crucial in enhancing security for the Games.”
Via the IMEST, China’s police were able to query INTERPOL's global databases, including its Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database which contains almost 16 million entries. Worldwide searches on this database have already reached more than 52 million this year – more than double for the whole of 2007, and for the period of the Olympics (8 to 24 August 2008) figures show an increase of nearly 400 per cent in the number of searches carried out by China compared to the same period last year.
China has so far this year carried out 637,907 name searches and 843,670 SLTD searches, compared to 13,389 and 18,402 searches respectively for all of 2007.
“A standard has been established in China – all visitors’ passports were screened against INTERPOL’s databases, and this was a remarkable achievement by the Chinese authorities,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. “The resolve of Chinese law enforcement authorities to ensure the swiftest and most efficient exchange of information was integral to delivering secure Olympics.”
Mr Noble called on other countries to emulate China’s example and warned that “this standard unfortunately is not being met in enough countries and as a result too many countries and their citizens remain at an unacceptable and unnecessary risk of international crime.”