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05 August 2013

Improving regional investigative response to radiological and nuclear terrorism focus of INTERPOL conference in Panama

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Some 60 officers from nine Central and South American countries have attended an INTERPOL meeting in Panama to develop a coordinated regional approach to preventing terrorism that makes use of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) materials.

Organized by INTERPOL’s CBRNE Terrorism Prevention Programme and the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Panama, the five-day meeting (29 July to 2 August) was aimed at identifying regional methodology for leading effective intelligence-driven, prevention-orientated investigations into acts of terrorism involving CBRNE weapons, materials and technology.

Topics of discussion included regional operations against trafficking in radioactive materials, radioactive and nuclear materials sources, incident response mechanisms and radiation detection equipment used in CBRNE operations.

“The risk of CBRNE materials being used by terrorists is very real and it is critical that we work together to address the threat if we want to keep the Americas, and indeed the whole world, safe for its citizens,” said Panama Police Director Julio Molto.

Bringing together representatives from regional law enforcement agencies, customs, border control forces, public health authorities and fire services in addition to specialized CBRNE police officers, the INTERPOL meeting included practical exercises, scenario-based tabletop exercises and familiarization with mobile detection systems.

“Combating the security threat that hazardous materials poses in the region requires a concerted regional approach amongst different public security sectors,” commented INTERPOL’s CBRNE Programme Manager Anthony Thomas.

“This meeting has served to give countries a regional overview of the radiological and nuclear terrorism threat, and a better idea of how they can work together more effectively in countering it.”

Participants will be sent a follow-up survey within the next six months to enable the region to assess the steps they need to put in place in their respective countries as it relates to CBRNE terrorism prevention.