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07 October 2014

INTERPOL Chief visits Iceland to advance international law enforcement cooperation

Secretary General completes ground-breaking journey to visit all 190 INTERPOL member countries


REYKJAVIK, Iceland – With his first official visit to Iceland as INTERPOL Secretary General, Ronald K. Noble has underlined the world police body’s commitment to all of its member countries and international law enforcement cooperation by fulfilling his pledge to visit each of the Organization’s 190 members while in office.
 
In a meeting with Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Secretary General Noble highlighted the fact that the country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and lauded its role in initiatives against transnational organized crime.
 
These include the Pangea operations targeting criminal networks behind the sale of fake medicines via illicit online pharmacies, and the joint INTERPOL-Europol Opson operations against fake and substandard foods.
 
“Iceland is especially delighted to welcome the Head of INTERPOL on the last leg of his mission to visit each member country. It has seen Secretary General Noble champion international law enforcement cooperation and the needs of police on the frontlines to help make the world safer,” said Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson.
 
A review of police challenges as well as INTERPOL’s global tools and services also topped the agenda in meetings with Iceland’s National Commissioner of Police, Haraldur Johannessen, and the Head of INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Reykjavik, Sólberg Svanur Bjarnason.
 
In April of this year, Iceland participated in an operation against credit card fraud and illegal immigration. Coordinated by Europol and supported by INTERPOL at airports across 32 countries in Europe and the Americas, it saw more than 180 people arrested or detained.
 
“Transnational crime threats cannot be addressed by any one country alone. The Icelandic police is therefore pleased to work with INTERPOL and identify areas where we can reinforce our ongoing collaboration to turn back crime for the benefit of all citizens,” said Mr Johannessen.
 
Symbolically Mr Noble decided for Iceland to be the final INTERPOL member country he would visit in order to complete a journey that began when he first visited Reykjavik in May 2000 to attend the 29th INTERPOL European Regional Conference just before becoming Secretary General.

After being elected Secretary General in November 2000, Mr Noble pledged to visit all member countries to learn for himself their needs and the challenges confronting them.
 
“For almost 15 years, I have worked with Iceland’s National Commissioner of Police, its National Central Bureau and its police. All understand that at a time when transnational organized crime is diversifying and when physical borders no longer stop criminals from committing crimes or fleeing from justice, INTERPOL provides the vital channels globally for exchanging critical information and requesting assistance,” said Secretary General Noble.
 
“Iceland marks the 190th and final INTERPOL member country I have visited as Secretary General. While crime threats may differ among countries, my visits to all member countries have reinforced my belief that all share the same need to use INTERPOL's tools and services to protect their citizens and businesses from crime that could originate anywhere in the world."
 
“INTERPOL must remain at the forefront of responding to police needs worldwide, and empower the law enforcement men and women in our General Secretariat, National Central Bureaus and on the frontlines whom it has been my honour and privilege to lead and serve as Secretary General," concluded Mr Noble.
 
International law enforcement cooperation will be high on the agenda of the 83rd INTERPOL General Assembly in Monaco (3-7 November). It will include a ministerial meeting attended by Home Affairs, Justice and Security Ministers from more than 100 countries.