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14 September 2011 - Media release

Rwanda becomes 150th member country visited by INTERPOL Secretary General

Mission part of leader's commitment to frontline policing

KIGALI, Rwanda – INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble travelled to Rwanda this week in a landmark trip marking a total of 150 member countries visited since he took the helm of the world’s largest police organization.

Since his election in 2000, Mr Noble has made it a priority to ensure that the needs of member countries shape the direction of INTERPOL’s activities, and has committed to visit each of the 188 member countries personally to witness the unique threats faced by each nation and meet those who dedicate their lives to protect innocent citizens.

“My meetings with ministers and police chiefs in 150 countries during the past 11 years have provided me with an insight into the challenges facing frontline police each day,” said Secretary General Noble. “This has guided our activities, our strategy and the development of our tools and resources to support those officers.”

“I believe that as an international organization, INTERPOL should be judged on the effectiveness of its daily support to law enforcers worldwide, not just by our geographical reach or the scale of our membership,” he added.

The first INTERPOL chief to visit so many countries, Mr Noble said that it was fitting for this milestone to be achieved in Africa, a region unique in both potential and challenges.

“Africa is one of the fastest growing and most challenging continents in terms of infrastructure and diversity of criminal activity, making it essential that the region is fully integrated into the INTERPOL global structure,” he told chiefs of police at the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) Annual General Meeting in Kigali ahead of his meetings with Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, Inspector General of Police Emmanuel Gasana and Martin Ngoga, the Rwanda Prosecutor General.

“East Africa is on the frontline against the scourge of maritime piracy, and along with West Africa has become a target for drug trafficking routes to Europe, while across the continent, natural resources are being drained by environmental and wildlife crime and counterfeit pharmaceuticals putting innocent lives at risk. These threats are many and varied, but they all require a coordinated law enforcement response,” Mr Noble told the meeting.

“Add to that the fast growth of the Internet in Africa which will only exacerbate the wide range of crimes already faced by police, and it is clearly essential that we must combine our efforts to ensure that frontline officers have access to the tools they need,” concluded Secretary General Noble.

One of the ways in which this has already been achieved is through the connection of all African National Central Bureaus (NCBs) to I-24/7, INTERPOL’s global communications system, ensuring they can communicate and access vital policing information in real-time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

 Mr Noble highlighted frontline successes achieved by cross-border policing activity in East Africa, such as operations targeting stolen motor vehicles - that have seen more than 500 vehicles recovered since 2006 - and the seizure of more than 10 tonnes of counterfeit and illicit medical products.