Information sharing a defence against foreign terrorist fighters – INTERPOL Chief
UNITED NATIONS, New York – INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock has underlined the key role of systematic information sharing and frontline access to the world police body’s global tools against the threat of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs).
The Head of INTERPOL spoke at the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, hosted by US President Barack Obama and chaired by Vice President Joe Biden.
Speaking a year after the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2178, Mr Stock updated the Summit on INTERPOL’s implementation of the Resolution which recognizes the Organization’s role as a global, neutral information sharing platform against foreign terrorist fighters.
The Summit heard that with 52 countries now contributing to INTERPOL’s FTF database, information shared through its channels had increased six-fold in the last year, with some 5,000 foreign terrorist fighters identified so far in INTERPOL’s systems.
From these records, dedicated analysis has been delivered to INTERPOL’s membership to combine, evaluate and share intelligence on the capabilities, means and emerging trends of foreign terrorist fighters to ensure that the right piece of data reaches the right officer at the frontlines.
In this respect, more than 2,000 INTERPOL alerts were issued by member countries in the last year to disrupt FTF mobility.
However, Mr Stock said the potential of information held by individual countries may remain unexploited where it counts the most, warning that terrorists exploit each and every gap.
With young extremists seeking to cross borders to join a battlefield or to recreate one back home, Mr Stock said: “If information on their identity hasn't reached that border checkpoint in time; if the officer standing before them is unable to access that information, then they will have succeeded. And we will have failed.”
“Expanding access to INTERPOL’s screening tools, and ensuring their systematic use at key chokepoints remains fundamental,” he said.
“Therefore, INTERPOL’s first priority for next year will be to further increase the volume of shared FTF data, and to urgently mobilize international resources, to build lacking infrastructure and skills in frontline states,” added Mr Stock.
With FTFs having also increased the risk of expertise on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) being transferred between hotspots, Mr Stock also outlined the need for information on known IED manufacturers and modi operandi to flow across borders, as well as for bridges to be built between law enforcement and the military.
Mr Stock’s address to the Leaders’ Summit follows his attendance at the Sixth Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) on 27 September in New York, when delegates reaffirmed that multilateral action and information sharing across regions is fundamental against the life cycle of terrorism, from radicalization to violence.