Foreign fighter threat to Europe requires global response – Interpol chief
A global effort is required to address the internal security needs of the European Union (EU) against the threat of foreign fighters, Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock said on January 29.
Interpol stands ready to help EU member states tackle this threat through increased use of Interpol’s global tools and continued co-operation with Europol, Stock said.
“In combating the foreign fighter threat, we see Interpol’s role as Europe’s police information gateway to the world,” Stock said.
“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,” he said.
Information added to Interpol’s database on foreign terrorist fighters has enabled the organisation’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, he said that 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 a gathering of EU justice and home affairs ministers, the systematic use of Interpol’s tools for border screening was also highlighted by Stock as a key strategy in maximising their impact.