Criminals and terrorists are known to use illicit travel and identity documents to cross borders undetected. Document fraud also facilitates the exploitation of vulnerable people through human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
Border officials need real-time tools to help spot fraudulent travel and identity documents, prevent the movement of criminals and terrorists, and identify people at risk.
Officers conducting first-line checks have only seconds to assess whether a document is genuine or potentially fake. Therefore, it is vital for them to know the signs to looks for.
The Frontex INTERPOL Electronic Library Document System (FIELDS) gives police officers and border guards visual information, in a simple format, on the key markers that can indicate a counterfeit or forged document.
How it works
FIELDS is a joint initiative between INTERPOL and Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
It combines and upgrades INTERPOL’s former Dial-Doc platform to make the Frontex Quick Check Cards (QCC) available to frontline border control officers via INTERPOL’s I-24/7 secure global police communications system.
The QCC is a visual decision aid. It shows a model of the document being inspected and highlights the key security features to check. The images are compiled by document experts, based on risk analysis, known alerts, and the vulnerability assessment of the document.
Benefits for security
The effective control of travel and identity documents is a cornerstone of border security and successful migration management.
Real-time access to FIELDS – and the QCCs that it contains – during frontline border checks will make it quicker and easier to check the authenticity of travel and identity documents, with more accurate results.
By covering counterfeits and forgeries, the FIELDS system complements INTERPOL’s existing SLTD database which contains records on stolen, lost, revoked, invalid, and stolen blank documents.
The system is also available via a Web Platform, where second- line and forensic officers can take more time to thoroughly examine the QCCs and Alerts that FIELDS holds. Alerts contain photos and other important information about newly detected forms of falsified documents and are used to notify other countries of fraud trends.
The FIELDS system was launched in 2022, following a multi-year design and development project. The FIELDS Operational Central Unit, made up of document and database specialists, will work actively with experts and member countries to:
- Ensure efficient and sustainable use of the system (operational and technical);
- Expand the system into the national border security infrastructure of all INTERPOL member countries;
- Increase the amount and quality of data stored within the system; and
- Improve the business and technological processes.
In the future, the FIELDS unit will aim to integrate new features such as Artificial Intelligence and compatibility with automated border control booths.
To achieve these goals and populate the database with as much relevant information as possible, INTERPOL and Frontex will continue to rely on the support of their member countries to share document specimens and related information.
For many countries, this will mean establishing networks with the Document Issuing Authorities, who often possess the type of information that FIELDS needs to effectively support frontline officers.
The FIELDS unit will be based at INTERPOL and supported by Frontex expertise and funding, highlighting the Organizations’ joint commitment to bolstering the range of border management tools available to frontline officers and strengthening global security.