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06 June 2008 - Media release

Austria and Switzerland to screen visitors’ passports for Euro 2008 against INTERPOL’s global database

France – Visitors to the Euro 2008 football championships will have their passports checked against INTERPOL’s global database of Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database following Austria’s expansion of access to law enforcement officers throughout the country.

The move follows close co-operation between the Austrian Ministry of the Interior and the INTERPOL General Secretariat to ensure that before the start of the tournament, police across the country had instant access to the database which contains nearly 15 million entries from 135 countries.

Access to INTERPOL’s database became operational throughout Austria at the end of May. To date an average of 15,000 searches are being carried out on a daily basis, and 20 hits have already been registered of people attempting to enter the country on an illegal travel document.

'Ensuring that all police have instant access to INTERPOL’s stolen and lost travel documents database is a significant step forward in combating organized crime and terrorism and in helping to protect the safety of citizens and visitors to Austria,' said Minister of the Interior Günther Platter.

'I am pleased and proud of the co-operation between Austria and INTERPOL which has made this achievement possible.'

INTERPOL is also supporting security efforts during Euro 2008 through the deployment of an INTERPOL Major Events Support Team (IMEST) which will remain in place until the end of the event to provide security and operational assistance to law enforcement bodies in the two host countries.

'As we saw with the provision of direct access to INTERPOL’s databases throughout the Caribbean for the Cricket World Cup, the benefits of providing officers on the ground with access to this resource remain long after the last match has been played,' said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

'While thousands of legitimate football fans will be travelling to support their teams during Euro 2008, we must remain vigilant to the reality that those engaged in illegal activities will also be heading to the region and it requires a national, regional and international effort to identify and arrest them before they can perpetrate their crimes.'

In 2008 alone, law enforcement officers around the world have carried out 25 million searches of INTERPOL’s database, resulting in more than 5,000 individuals being identified as travelling on fraudulent documents.

In December 2005, Switzerland the co-host for Euro 2008, became the first country to expand access to the database beyond the INTERPOL National Central Bureau to federal agents throughout the country. To date 33 countries around the world have implemented the technical solutions developed by INTERPOL to enable officers in the field to carry out instant checks on travel documents.