INTERPOL hosts first Crisis and Major Events international conference as platform for global police co-operation

28 October 2008

LYON, France – With ever-increasing demand from member countries to have all INTERPOL services in the field during a crisis and / or major event with public security implications, INTERPOL’s First International Conference on Crisis and Major Events (C&ME) opened at the General Secretariat in Lyon today.

The two-day conference (28-29 October) – involving more than 130 senior officials from 54 countries and 11 international organizations – aims to develop a global police platform for information sharing, best practices, training, and the development of both global programmes and tailored regional programmes in the field of crisis and major events assistance and management.

INTERPOL’s experience from recent and ongoing major events, as well as from the aftermath of major terrorist incidents and natural disasters, has identified the vital need for developing a global police platform for international co-ordination, an interface and common debrief point for the international community, an early and expert assessment of a crisis situation and efficient communication channels.

The international meeting will focus on security and preparation for major sporting events, conferences and summits, as well as emergency co-ordination and communications responses to natural and manmade disasters, and providing C&ME assistance in developing the capacity of member countries to co-ordinate and host major events.

With crises and major events management an increasingly important field of law enforcement, INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services Jean-Michel Louboutin said that “INTERPOL will continually strive to support the improvement of the capacity of its member countries in the preparation for, and co-ordination of, security arrangements pertaining to major international events which inherently require an internationally co-ordinated security effort.”

But he told the conference in his opening address that “the development of this law enforcement priority can only be achieved through sustained co-operation between INTERPOL, its 187 National Central Bureaus and international partners.”

Since the creation of its Crisis and Major Events Unit in 2006, INTERPOL has gained extensive experience in deploying Incident Response Teams (IRTs) and INTERPOL Major Events Support Teams (IMESTs).

IRTs support member countries in dealing with the aftermath of manmade or natural disasters such as a terrorist attack or an earthquake. INTERPOL currently has an IRT in the Philippines to assist local authorities in operations to identify the bodies of up to 800 victims who perished in the June ferry tragedy. An IRT can also be deployed to assist and support a member country faced with a major or sensitive police issue such as a large drug seizure or sensitive investigation. 

IMESTs also assist member countries in preparing security arrangements for major events such as the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where INTERPOL deployed such a team.

A total of 74 IMESTs and IRTs have been deployed worldwide since October 2002.