MIAMI, USA – Increased integration between law enforcement and the public and private sectors to secure and protect critical infrastructure is the focus of a joint FBI and INTERPOL symposium.
The four-day (7 – 10 July) International Law Enforcement Critical Infrastructure Symposium in Miami brings together some 350 senior government, law enforcement and industry officials from 90 countries to explore and share best practice.
Critical infrastructure refers to the physical and virtual assets, systems and networks, which if incapacitated or destroyed would have a devastating effect on security, the economy and public health and safety.
Identifying common areas between infrastructure sectors and individual countries for future cooperation is an important aspect of the symposium, with key issues on the agenda including energy, ground and air transport, water, stadiums and maritime safety.
“The threats we face to these interconnected systems are as diverse as our infrastructure itself. That is why it is so essential that we, together, figure out ways to safeguard and strengthen our global critical infrastructure – whether from a terrorist attack, a tragic accident, or a natural disaster,” said FBI Director James B. Comey.
“Standing together, we can better understand what we each bring to the table, and what we must do to keep our infrastructure, our communities, and our world, safe from harm,” he concluded.
As the world’s largest international police organization, INTERPOL is ideally and uniquely placed to develop and share law enforcement capabilities and experience from its 190 member countries.
“INTERPOL’s assistance to member countries in coordinating the law enforcement response to all forms of crime has seen significant results,” said Pierre St Hilaire, Director of INTERPOL’s Counter-Terrorism, Public Safety and Maritime Security unit.
“We will continue working with member countries to help them protect their critical infrastructure and prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of those who would do their citizens harm,” added Mr St Hilaire.
With public vigilance an important component of critical infrastructure safety, the symposium was briefed on INTERPOL’s global Turn Back Crime campaign – supported by FBI Director James B. Comey - which aims to engage with all sectors of society, to highlight the role everyone can play in making the world safer.
“As with all crime, the public also has a role to play in fighting terrorism and protecting their own towns, cities and nations,” said Roraima A. Andriani, Executive Director of the Turn Back Crime campaign.
“But citizens are not necessarily aware of how terrorist acts or criminal activities are perpetrated or funded or how they can assist law enforcement with prevention.
“With Turn Back Crime we want to empower citizens. It is about raising public awareness to such threats to our infrastructures and how to make communities more resilient to these threats,” added Mrs Andriani.
In addition to the main conference, smaller breakout sessions on topics including physical safety, crime/epidemiology and analysis of events such as the Westgate Mall terror attack are also being held.
The symposium is supported by a number of US government agencies including the US Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.