INTERPOL links Europol to its global communication system.

27 January 2004

LYON, France -- INTERPOL, the world's largest international police organization, is connecting the European police organization Europol to its state of the art global I-24/7 global communications network.

Europol's liaison office at INTERPOL's General Secretariat in Lyon is now connected to the INTERPOL encrypted communications system which serves its member countries around the world, providing not only messaging services but access to criminal databases. This will allow the liaison office to consult crucial police information and other international criminal data.

INTERPOL's new I-24/7 system provides the capacity to instantly reach law enforcement contact points across the globe and permits police to communicate a range of information, including photographs, fingerprints and eventually video and audio transmissions. It was introduced one year ago and replaces an outdated messaging and research system.

To date, 86 of INTERPOL's member countries are connected and all 181 member countries will be given the opportunity to be connected by June 2004.

The system improves significantly the international law enforcement communications infrastructure in terms of efficiency, flexibility and security and in the range of services available.

'INTERPOL is always looking for ways to improve international police cooperation and communication,' INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said. 'We believe that in order to optimize use of resources and to avoid duplication of effort, it is important that INTERPOL offer to other international organizations and law enforcement agencies as many of its services as possible.'

INTERPOL and Europol signed a cooperation agreement in 2001. That agreement allows for the rapid exchange of operational, strategic and technical information. It is being amended to provide this new I-24/7 access for Europol as endorsed by the European Chiefs of Police Task Force in October 2003.

In November, INTERPOL, in coordination with the organization's National Central Bureau in the United States, announced plans to connect the New York Police Department to I-24/7. Last month, INTERPOL agreed to connect Europe-based international institutions and regional organizations to the system in order to allow security officials to warn each other directly of potential threats or terrorist attacks.