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18 September 2012

US-funded programme places INTERPOL global tools in hands of frontline officers across Central America

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Law enforcement officials across Central America now have direct access to INTERPOL’s global tools as part of a US-funded project to support efforts in addressing regional security threats including transnational gangs, weapons, drugs and human trafficking.

The USD 2.5 million programme means that specialist investigators in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama can now access and conduct real time searches of INTERPOL’s global databases including those for wanted persons, stolen motor vehicles, fingerprints, DNA profiles and the Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database which currently contains nearly 34 million entries from more than 160 countries.

Officers at key transit points such as airports and border control points are also now connected to INTERPOL’s secure global communication system to boost information and intelligence exchange at regional and global levels.

The US Department of State-funded project, launched in April 2010, was officially closed at the inauguration ceremony for the newly established INTERPOL office at Panama’s Tocumen Airport on 11 September, attended by INTERPOL President Khoo Boon Hui.

“As crime is increasingly becoming global, there is a need for police to be ‘connected’ not only within their national jurisdictions but also beyond,” said President Khoo pointing to the some 17 million message exchanges through the I-24/7 system in 2011 alone.

“This Project is a critical foundation to enhance police cooperation activities not only within the Central American region but also with the rest of the world.

“Our challenge now is to utilize these tools and services to its fullest potential and make a difference in helping create a safer world for everybody,” concluded President Khoo.

The project, supported by INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Washington DC, also provides for the  equipment maintenance and training sessions to ensure the continued widest possible use of the facilities.

Head of NCB Washington and INTERPOL Executive Committee Delegate for the Americas, Timothy Williams said:  "Not only will this project strengthen the international reach of INTERPOL and lead to an increase in arrests worldwide, it will optimize the role of law enforcement in countries across Central America that would greatly benefit from resources available through INTERPOL. This project will improve their efficiency and better connect neighboring countries to necessary resources and global crime databases, so that they may fight crime together and bring criminals to justice.”