Interpol meeting in Budapest to steer European collaborative strategy against transnational crime

Senior law enforcement officials from throughout Europe are gathering in Budapest for the 42nd Interpol European Regional Conference in order to boost regional strategic responses to contemporary international security threats, the international police agency said in a May 14 2013 statement.

With the global dimensions between local and regional security issues under the spotlight, the role of strategic cross-sector partnerships and INTERPOL’s global network in addressing modern policing challenges will be high on the agenda during the three-day conference, from May 14 to 16.

About 140 participants from 50 countries and six international organizations, including Europol, will review areas such as human and drug trafficking, cybercrime, terrorism, fugitive investigations and financial crime, as well as capacity building and training.

Hungary’s interior minister, Sándor Pintér, said in his opening address that the conference came at a time when police officers faced a set of new challenges brought by globalization in the age of information technology, including new modus operandi in the areas of cross-border organized crime, cybercrime and terrorism.

“International police co-operation is more important today than ever before. It is INTERPOL, as an alliance of 190 member states, that can provide international support in the most efficient and quickest way,” Pintér said.

He said that in areas such as cybercrime, where physical borders are hard to define, the support and contact network of global law enforcement agencies such as Interpol was crucial for law enforcement to be effective.

“Co-operation and coordination between Interpol and authorities across all sectors in the European region and beyond is vital to contend with the interconnected and globalised nature of 21st century transnational crime,” Interpol president Mireille Ballestrazzi said.

Ballestrazzi cited how the increasing sophistication of information and communication technology also means that countries are facing new forms of crime, with the ‘borderless and anonymous’ nature of cybercrime presenting its own unique law enforcement challenges.

With a recent case where in a matter of hours about $45 million was stolen from cash machines in 26 countries in a co-ordinated criminal operation across the internet, and with some estimates putting the cost of cybercrime at 90 billion euro in 2012, the delegates heard how from 2014 the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore will considerably support the international community’s efforts against cybercrime.

Ballestrazzi also underlined the strength of Interpol’’s operational partnerships with international and regional organisations in Europe, including Europol, the European Union, the OSCE, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association, together with the continuing need for ‘interoperability’ between law enforcement systems and databases within and beyond Europe.

In this respect, Interpol and the European Commission launched the INTERPOL West African Police Information System (WAPIS) programme in 2012 to establish a common police information system in Western Africa. Through a system of automated national databases, police forces in 16 African countries will be able to collect, analyse and share information regionally and internationally.

“The strength of our organisation lies in our will to work together, because while we share the same challenges, we can also share our successes. More than at any time in the last century, co-operation between police forces, regional and international organizations, and with the private and public sectors will determine our future success,” Ballestrazzi said.

Officials at the conference will look to recommend a series of measures to optimize the use of the tools developed under the Interpol Firearms Programme, promote international action in the recovery of illegal assets, enhance Interpol’’s co-operation with Europol to fight cybercrime, and facilitate international police co-operation by developing interoperability between police information systems.

(Photo: Interpol)



The Sofia Globe staff

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