LYON, France – An INTERPOL Major Events Support Team (IMEST) has been deployed to Paris as part of the world police body’s support to the security framework surrounding the Euro 2016 football tournament.
With the potential for criminals to enter the host nation France using falsified, stolen or lost passports to conceal their identities, the IMEST will facilitate checks on individuals against INTERPOL’s global databases including foreign terrorist fighters, stolen and lost travel documents, fingerprints and internationally wanted persons.
In addition to the team based at the Centre for International Police Cooperation in Paris, INTERPOL’s 24-hour Command and Coordination Centre and other specialized units, will be on standby to provide any additional assistance required to reach out to its 190 member countries in urgent situations, or in relation to terrorism and organized crime issues such as human trafficking.
“With more than two million fans expected from around the world, this is an international event bringing with it all the associated threats and security issues,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock, who also underlined the need for continued vigilance.
“It is vital that police have the information they require to ensure that anyone entering the country, or who is arrested, is who they claim to be. Tied to this is the need for countries to share information they may have on suspected individuals and potential attacks.
“The preparations put in place by France are extremely thorough, but security at an event such as this is a global responsibility requiring close cooperation between law enforcement worldwide,” concluded Secretary General Stock.
With increased concerns over weapons being smuggled into Europe from the Balkans for use in terrorist attacks, Mr Stock said INTERPOL was also encouraging member countries to be extra vigilant at border controls beyond the European Union.
In just one 48-hour period alone, an INTERPOL-coordinated operation in the Western Balkans in April led to the seizure of 40 firearms, six kg of explosives, 11 hand grenades and 1,300 pieces of ammunition.
INTERPOL has provided internationally coordinated support for major events around the world, including the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the 2015 APEC summit and will also be deploying an IMEST to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
In 2012, INTERPOL established Project Stadia to create a Centre of Excellence and develop good practice guides to help INTERPOL member countries in planning and executing physical and cybersecurity preparations for major sporting events.
Funded by Qatar, Project Stadia also conducts observation and debriefing programmes with security officials from both the public and private sectors and is developing a state-of-the-art web-based knowledge management system which all member countries can contribute to and benefit from.