Bioterrorism: Capacity building and training

We continuously strive to strengthen member countries capacity to combat biological threats through three essential elements: prevention, preparedness and response.

A major part of our efforts is the facilitation of targeted training for law enforcement and relevant national agencies on how to prevent, prepare and  respond to a bioterrorist attack. Our capacity building and training activities not only serve to establish collaboration on the national and regional levels, but also seek to promote a multi-agency approach. This will strengthen cooperation among law enforcement bodies and other sectors, thereby making it easier to share information, establish common practices and coordinate joint responses.


Bioterrorism risks and controls workshop

This workshop provides law enforcement with a risk assessment of current biological threats related to global terrorism, natural disease outbreaks and technological vulnerabilities. It focuses on raising awareness of triggers and indicators of biological threats in order to prevent biological incidents.

Dual-use materials awareness workshop for law enforcement

This workshop aims to increase law enforcement and border agency awareness of dual-use materials.

Darknet investigation training course: countering biological and chemical terrorism activities on the darknet

With the increasing use of the darknet for criminal activities, the danger of acquiring, transferring, smuggling biological material, weapons and bioterrorism-related information while remaining undetected becomes ever more pressing. This specialized training aims to tackle this threat by providing counter-terrorism, intelligence and cybercrime officers with the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct undercover darknet investigations. This will better equip them to detect and collect evidence associated to the proliferation of biological and chemical material on the darknet.

Workshop on biological threat identification for investigations on foreign terrorist fighters

This workshop seeks to mitigate biological threats posed by the potential return of foreign terrorist fighters to their home countries. It includes the development and adoption of preventive mechanisms, in order to ensure their knowledge related to biological weapons is not transferred to non-state actors.


Project RHINO

INTERPOL's Project RHINO strengthens the capacity of member countries to implement effective measures to control large epidemic outbreaks and adequately ensure public safety. This requires multi-agency collaboration and continuous training.

The project was initially implemented for law enforcement in the West African region as a direct response to the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, with an emphasis on biosecurity and key lessons learned. However, many of the lessons and practices can be used in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Within this framework, an awareness video was produced for the international community, highlighting the importance of cooperation and coordination between law enforcement and health services and showing some of the roles of law enforcement services in response to an outbreak.

The video promotes the key interagency principles of partnership, coordination and protection. The successful application of these principles may spell the difference between limiting the impact of a disease outbreak and populations incurring damage on an irreversible scale.

Bioterrorism tabletop exercise

The key objective of this tabletop exercise is to identify existing national law enforcement capabilities. Through a simulated bioterrorism incident, countries put their established policies and procedures into practice. This allows countries to assess the coordination between the key national agencies and identify further training requirements.

National biosecurity working group (NBWG) meeting

This meeting seeks to gather decision makers from various national agencies to develop internal procedures and national plans towards biological threat prevention and response. Based on tailored needs, INTERPOL supports member countries by sharing expertise, methodologies and best practices. This meeting paves the way for drafting and validating more robust Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

Regional biological incident response plan meetings

Taking into account regional context, this activity is a follow-up to the NBWG meeting and is designed to build upon existing national and regional capabilities. Countries come together to integrate their national response plans at a regional level, with a view of developing an SOP to increase regional coordination and cooperation within biological incident response.

Workshop on joint procedures and protocols development

This workshop assists national agencies to develop substantive interagency coordination protocols. This will allow relevant stakeholders such as investigators, rescue and emergency management personnel to better prepare for and respond to a biological incident.


Bioterrorism evidence exploitation training

This training is specifically designed to address evidence collection in a biologically contaminated crime scene. It provides essential skills and knowledge related to countermeasures, evidence preservation, maintaining chain of custody and compliance to ensure evidence acceptance.

Bioterrorism anti-smuggling and sample collection operational exercise

This operational exercise follows the bioterrorism evidence exploitation training, with the aim of identifying and deterring the smuggling of biological agents, materials and equipment. At strategic operational locations, national CBRNE teams and other agency officers have the opportunity to put their newly acquired skills and knowledge into practice. This operational exercise reinforces the importance of the integrated, multi-agency approach championed by INTERPOL.

Responding to a deliberate biological event training

This training prepares law enforcement and public health agencies to effectively implement collaborative action in the event of a bioterrorist attack. Relevant agencies have the opportunity to apply and evaluate the procedures and plans developed during the NBWG meetings. This training primarily focuses on areas related to the receipt of evidentiary samples from law enforcement, such as acceptance criteria, sample packaging, controls and documentation.

Biological crime scene live operational exercise

This operational exercise is the opportunity to test standard operating procedures and multi-agency cooperation. Law enforcement and other relevant agencies simulate a response to an incident involving biological material.

Biological crime scene management training

In this training, law enforcement agencies are guided on how to better recognize, respond and manage a biological crime scene. It covers key aspects such as incident awareness, information and intelligence sharing, incident control, personal protective equipment, evidence recovery and forensic work.

Public messaging in a biological event workshop

Public communication during a biological incident is vital to ensuring social stability and allowing law enforcement to have better situational control. This workshop directs law enforcement agencies towards the main considerations before, during and after a biological incident. It also includes the type of information that should be conveyed to the public based on the nature of the threat and incident.

Workshop on joint biological investigation skills

This workshop aims to increase information sharing and cooperation between law enforcement investigators and animal/human health specialists when responding to a biological incident. By understanding their different priorities and constraints, joint investigative effort are more effective in containing biological outbreaks and identifying perpetrators.

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