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27 April 2012

INTERPOL conference hears fingerprint technology advances key in combating transnational crime

LYON, France – Using advances in technology to more effectively share biometric data is key in effectively combating all forms of transnational crime, delegates at the 7th INTERPOL Symposium on fingerprints heard.

A key theme of the three-day meeting (25 – 27 April), which brought together some 150 delegates from 51 countries was interoperability and for law enforcement to take advantage of technological developments to maximise the opportunities of identifying fugitives throughout the world.

Addressing the meeting, Executive Director of Police Services Jean-Michel Louboutin highlighting the new tools and standards developed by INTERPOL to receive and treat fingerprint data from member countries even more rapidly.

“The evolution of fingerprint technology is one of the fastest growing, most reliable and effective ways of identifying criminals, especially those trying to evade justice,” said Mr Louboutin.

“It is also an area where public and private sector cooperation is essential in order to continue this development and achieve the successes we have been seeing.

“However, these results can only be maintained and improved on through the increased sharing of fingerprints at a global level and here INTERPOL plays a unique and vital role for all of its 190 member countries,” concluded Mr Louboutin, adding that since the previous fingerprint symposium in 2010, the number of fingerprints stored in INTERPOL’s database had increased by 30 per cent to more than 160,000, and in the same time 2,800 identifications had been made.

Combating maritime piracy was also highlighted as an area where INTERPOL’s tools can bring added value, with several Somali pirates identified after the Seychelles sent their fingerprints to the General Secretariat headquarters, and comparison with marks already in the database, enabled their identification as being wanted by Belgium and India.

Head of INTERPOL’s fingerprint unit, Mark Branchflower encouraged delegates to promote greater use of INTERPOL’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System which provides instant access to the organization’s central global fingerprints database.

Patrick Mutua Ndunda, Criminal Identification Bureau - Kenya

Paul Butler, Foster & Freeman