Police work on the ground
Despite popular ideas about INTERPOL, we don’t have secret agents travelling undercover around the world like James Bond! But we do help police to carry out important and sometimes very dangerous investigations and operations.
We can send specialized teams to locations all over the world to assist in a disaster situation. These teams offer expert assistance to local police following events such as a drug seizure or a bombing. Other teams can help plan and support the security arrangements for major events such as the Olympic Games.
We also spend a lot of time training law enforcement staff across the world so that police are equipped with the latest technology, techniques and practices.
To help police verify quickly whether a person is wanted, or whether a passport or car is stolen, INTERPOL manages a number of different databases that store information on criminals and crime activities. These databases contain information supplied by police forces in many different countries.
Many crimes take place across several countries – for example, drugs are smuggled from South America to Europe via Africa – so it’s important that law enforcement agencies across the world communicate with each other to help catch these criminals. To do this, they need to have access to shared systems and information.
All 187 of INTERPOL’s member countries are connected to our global police communications network, called I-24/7. It’s a high-tech online system that allows police to send messages and top secret information securely and to check information in our databases.
For instance, in a true example, police in Monaco found fingerprints at a crime scene, ran a check in INTERPOL’s database, discovered the identity of the criminal and the fact that he was linked to crimes in Serbia and, in addition, that he was wanted by police in another five European countries.
INTERPOL then published a Red Notice for this criminal - this is an international wanted persons notice that puts all member countries on the lookout for the individual with a view to his arrest.
We have two ways in particular that we can help prevent crimes against children; a system of alerting police worldwide to missing children, who may have been abducted, and a programme to help rescue children who are victims of sexual abuse.
When an INTERPOL country issues a Yellow Notice (for missing persons, including children), this puts police all over the world on the alert to help locate children who have disappeared. The notice contains photo of the child, along with information such as the name, description, nationality, age and country they disappeared in.
We also work to identify and help arrest people who abuse children sexually. Abusers often post photos on the internet, so we have a database of these photos and experts who use special software to make links between the people and the places shown. This means we can work to identify both the victims and the criminals, and track down the locations where the abuse took place. We have rescued more than 700 victims since the database was created in 2001.
Unfortunately, children are also victims of human trafficking – this is a form of modern-day slavery in which criminal groups trick vulnerable people into leaving their homes and transport them to another country. Upon arrival, instead of the opportunities they had been promised, the victims find themselves forced into labour-intensive jobs or exploited sexually, living and working in appalling conditions. INTERPOL is committed to making crimes against children one of the top priorities for international policing.
INTERPOL has developed a number of different systems to enable countries to communicate quickly and efficiently in investigations into all forms of crimes against children. Identifying and locating criminals is of course a priority but we also work with other important bodies – including governments, internet service providers and international organizations such as the United Nations – to educate children and parents about potential dangers, and to develop new safeguards to protect children.
INTERPOL is also a member of the Virtual Global Taskforce which brings together police agencies around the world to protect children from online abuse.
Click here to read the message from our Secretary General, Ronald K. Noble
Web Site: http://www.interpol.int/