INTERPOL Fugitives Conference focuses on international co-operation via global police tools

18 November 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - INTERPOL’s 5th International Conference on Fugitives opened today with more than 170 law enforcement delegates from 70 countries hearing that global co-operation through technological innovation is key to achieving success in fugitive investigations.

Increased use of INTERPOL’s tools is vital, such as expansion of access to the Organization's global police communications system, known as I-24/7, and providing border control officers with access to INTERPOL’s databases on wanted persons. The three-day conference, from 18 to 20 November, will also discuss the use of social networking sites and the Internet in general in identifying and locating wanted persons.

“People routinely use the Internet to find former classmates or individuals with similar interests. As Toronto Constable Scott Mills so eloquently and passionately conveyed, there is no reason why law enforcement should not use this same resource to find fugitives or encourage members of the public to use social networking sites to report sightings of criminals,” said INTERPOL Secretary General, Ronald K. Noble.

Tracking international sex offenders will also be high on the conference agenda, with participants briefed on INTERPOL’s Operation IDent, which led to the identification and arrest in the United States in May this year of Wayne Corliss – just 48 hours after the appeal was launched.

Keynote speaker John Clark, Director of the United States Marshals Service, said that the globalization of crime is a problem confronting all law enforcement officers.

“Transnational criminal organizations and international fugitives take advantage of our global economy to travel, communicate and even to hide from police detection. It is more critical now than ever before that we unite to be an international police force, capable of apprehending and arresting criminals through co-operation with each other,” said Mr Clark.

INTERPOL’s main tool for helping police across its network of 187 member countries to track fugitives is its Red Notices, an international wanted persons notice. While there are 15,000 Red Notices currently in circulation, less than half of these are publicly available. However, delegates at the INTERPOL General Assembly in St Petersburg, Russia approved a resolution to encourage all member countries, via their National Central Bureaus to make public, where possible, information contained in Red Notices.

This year, more than 600 people have been arrested on the basis of INTERPOL notices and, since 2000, almost 27,000 fugitives who were the subjects of INTERPOL notices and diffusions have been caught.