INTERPOL Chief calls for concerted global action against organized crime in UN address on 10th anniversary of Palermo Convention

17 June 2010

NEW YORK – The head of the world’s largest police organization today stressed the need for global police collaboration and information sharing in his address to the Special High Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on Transnational Organized Crime.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said that ‘in a world which has evolved dramatically since 2000 in the opportunities it provides to transnational organized crime,’ the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Palermo Convention against transnational organized crime presented the ideal opportunity for remaining countries which had not yet done so to ratify the convention.

“As the head of an organization that witnesses daily the challenges faced by those fighting organized crime in the streets of the world, not taking full advantage of what is within our reach today would seriously jeopardize our chances of success tomorrow,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Noble.

“In a world dealing with a global economic crisis which criminals will seek to exploit at every level, it is only logical to use tools that are already available, cost-effective and fully accessible to world nations, and it is here that INTERPOL stands ready to work closely with all parties involved.

“Our model is straightforward; the right police information to be received by the right law enforcement official at the right time, so that key opportunities are not missed,” added Mr Noble.

In 2010 alone, INTERPOL member countries obtained more than 70,000 positive hits from searches of its nominal database – each representing potential key information on an individual with possible links to transnational organized crime.

With an estimated 12 million victims of human trafficking in 2009 and small arms responsible for an estimated 60 to 90 per cent of direct conflict deaths, in addition to the tens of thousands of victims outside of war zones, Secretary General Noble told the High Level Meeting that these crimes and others such as people smuggling, were key sources in supporting transnational organized crime.

“All these crimes rely heavily on borders as shields against detection and prosecution,” said Mr Noble. “And it is here, once again, that information sharing and communication between law enforcement globally is the most effective and efficient strategy in transforming borders seen as opportunities by criminals, into obstacles against organized crime.“

Mr Noble pointed to the extraordinary technological developments since 2000 which have transformed the way in which INTERPOL now works and the benefits that the world police body brings to each of its 188 member countries, through its ability to establish ‘a virtual border’ at any location in the world.

In particular, Mr Noble highlighted INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database which daily serves the principles mentioned in Articles 11 -13 of the Palermo Convention’s Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants. The database contains more than 21 million records, including more than 12 million passport details and produced 4,000 hits following more than 300 million searches by INTERPOL member countries.

Information inserted into the STLD database by Sweden in January led to the identification of a man from the Netherlands wanted for trafficking in persons as he led a group of individuals attempting to illegally transit Trinidad and Tobago using stolen passports.