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29 January 2015

Foreign fighter threat to Europe requires global response says INTERPOL Chief

RIGA, Latvia – Attending today’s meeting of EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Latvia, INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said a global effort is required to address the internal security needs of the European Union (EU) against the threat of foreign fighters.

The Head of the world police body said INTERPOL stands ready to help EU member states tackle this threat through increased use of INTERPOL’s global tools and continued cooperation with Europol.

“In combating the foreign fighter threat, we see INTERPOL’s role as Europe’s police information gateway to the world,” said Secretary General Stock.

“INTERPOL tools can be quickly and cost effectively integrated into national infrastructures, placing key information from within and outside the EU and Europe at the fingertips of officers in the field,” added Mr Stock.

Information added to INTERPOL’s database on foreign terrorist fighters has enabled the Organization’s analysts to identify primary travel routes used by foreign fighters, as well as the tactics, techniques and procedures used to attempt to conceal their movements.

With foreign fighters crossing borders to reach the conflict zones in Syria and Iraq the INTERPOL Chief said these checkpoints provided opportunities for detection and interdiction via INTERPOL’s existing border management tools.

A recent example was the arrest at the Bulgarian border with Turkey of three individuals, two men aged 18 and 27 and a 15-year-old boy believed to be heading to join insurgents in Syria just hours after Spain issued an alert via INTERPOL.

In bilateral discussions with Ministers at the meeting, the systematic use of INTERPOL’s tools for border screening was also highlighted by Secretary General Stock as a key strategy in maximizing their impact.

Addressing the issue of firearms highlighted during the Ministers’ discussions, Mr Stock pointed to the INTERPOL Illicit Arms Records and tracing Management System (iARMS). Providing a centralized system for reporting and querying lost, stolen, trafficked and smuggled weapons, iARMS enabled member countries to share information in the wake of the January Paris attacks.