INTERPOL reaches milestone in global communications project.

5 May 2004

LYON, France -- One hundred countries have now connected to INTERPOL's state of the art global communications system, I-24/7. Guatemala and Kazakhstan became the 99th and 100th countries to join the system, which was launched by INTERPOL in 2002 to replace an older electronic police communications network.

The I-24/7 system provides member countries with immediate access to critical police information around the globe. It enables messages about major crime threats to be shared more efficiently, and nominal data, fingerprints, identity documents and other materials to be verified in seconds.

INTERPOL has made it one of its highest priorities to ensure that member countries possess the most effective tools available to combat international crime and terrorism.

By communicating instantaneously beyond national boundaries, the world's police greatly increase their chances of preventing and detecting crimes which are often planned in one country, but carried out in another.

'The connections of Guatemala and Kazakhstan to I-24/7 are landmarks in the fight against international crime,' said Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. 'Asia and Central America can now count on an additional country in each of their regions to tackle crime and terrorism through the I-24/7 network.

'This system puts essential and accurate information in the right place at the right time, enabling police around the world to work more effectively together'.

I-24/7 Programme Director Stanley Morris said: 'The wider the system is implemented, the greater the impact it will have on the fight against crime and terrorism around the globe.

'INTERPOL plans to connect its remaining 81 member countries to the network as soon as possible. In particular, ambitious plans are being implemented to have more countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean connected soon and to provide financial assistance where necessary.'

In addition to installation at INTERPOL's National Central Bureaus, several member countries have also chosen to extend their I-24/7 connection to national law enforcement authorities such as border control, customs and airports, enabling an even faster identification of criminals attempting to enter or flee a country.

INTERPOL was founded in 1923 to foster cross-border police co-operation. It is now the world's largest international police organization, with member countries on all five continents.