SALVADOR DE BAHIA, Brazil – The important role played by the public and the media in assisting law enforcement locate and arrest criminals attempting to flee justice was emphasized at INTERPOL's international conference on fugitives which ended today.
Bringing together nearly 150 law enforcement delegates from 39 countries, the three-day conference (7-9 December) was opened by Mr Luiz Fernando Corrêa, General Director of the Federal Police of Brazil, and addressed a range of issues related to fugitive investigations, including public appeals, international law enforcement co-operation, the need to update INTERPOL wanted persons Red Notices with new information, and the use of high-tech methods such as facial recognition software.
The value of public appeals for assistance in targeting international fugitives was particularly highlighted through the success of INTERPOL's Operation Infra-Red (International Fugitive Round-Up and Arrest – Red Notices) which resulted in responses from people across the globe providing information on the 450 targeted international fugitives wanted for serious offences including murder, rape, child sexual abuse and human trafficking.
The operation, which ran from May to July 2010, has so far seen the location or arrest of more than 160 individuals, and new information such as possible locations, travel document information, photographs, fingerprints and telephone numbers on some 400 other cases have also been shared with INTERPOL.
"In a world with increasingly mobile, intelligent and violent fugitives it is more important than ever that law enforcement share best practices and information while building partnerships that afford criminals no place to hide," said keynote speaker Deputy Director Chris Dudley of the United States Marshals Service.
"This is the sixth INTERPOL International Conference on Fugitives and its ongoing success and the ever increasing number of participants send a clear message to fugitives around the world: no matter where you run, there will always be dedicated law enforcement officers pursuing you," added Mr Dudley.
The Assistant Director of INTERPOL's Fugitive Investigative Support (FIS) unit, Dimitrios Souxes, said that the more information that INTERPOL member countries gave one another about fugitives, the stronger the chances of law enforcement tracking down and apprehending fugitives.
"Making critical information available to frontline police officers nationally and internationally makes it significantly more difficult for fugitives to evade capture. Operation Infra-Red showed the positive results that can be obtained by combining information from the public with police work on the ground," said Mr Souxes.
Enhancing regional capabilities in fugitive investigations, particularly in relation to specific offences such as drug trafficking and child sexual abuse, was also high on the meeting's agenda.