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19 September 2005 - Media release

INTERPOL annual General Assembly opens in Berlin, Germany

Two new countries join world’s largest police organization

BERLIN - INTERPOL’s 74th General Assembly opened on Monday with a call for enhanced international police co-operation and broader use of INTERPOL’s data and communications services to fight terrorism and international crime.

Nearly 600 law enforcement delegates from 154 member countries have gathered in Berlin, making it the largest General Assembly in the organization’s history.

The INTERPOL President, Jackie Selebi, urged delegates to adopt measures that would give police the tools and procedures they needed to work effectively in an increasingly dangerous world, where crime and criminals respected no borders.

'Closer interaction and collaboration from our member countries situated in the four INTERPOL regions has resulted in increased relevance and dynamism within INTERPOL. NCBs play a very key operational role in global police co-operation, and utilising them to their fullest potential will make a difference in our fight against transnational crime and terrorism,' Mr. Selebi said in his opening speech.

In addition to focusing on INTERPOL’s National Central Bureaus and their role in combating international crime, including terrorism, drugs, human trafficking and financial crime, member countries will also be updated on the expansion and successes of INTERPOL databases, such as those on DNA, stolen travel documents and internet child abuse.

The German Interior Minister, Otto Schily, underlined the need for international police co-operation.

'INTERPOL is an indispensable organization for the suppression of crime throughout the world. Its modern communications system guarantees that all security-related information is quickly and securely available to police authorities,' the minister said.

The President of the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) German Federal Criminal Police, Jörg Ziercke, said: 'Just as organised criminals and terrorists consciously act across and beyond national borders, often deliberately exploiting different legal systems for their purposes, we must also take an international common stand to combat this crime.

'INTERPOL is the cornerstone of the worldwide communication between national police authorities. Our goal must therefore be that all member states are connected to I-24/7 as soon as possible.'

INTERPOL is the world's largest international police organization, now with 184 member countries on five continents.

Bhutan and Turkmenistan became the newest members of the INTERPOL family, with their applications to join endorsed by delegates on the first day of the General Assembly.

Founded in 1923 to enhance international police co-operation, officers from more than 70 countries now work side by side at INTERPOL’s headquarters in Lyon, France, and in its regional bureaus around the world.

The INTERPOL global police communications system, I-24/7, allows police in all member countries to access crucial data or exchange messages instantly as they investigate cross-border crime or seek the arrest of international fugitives.