The crucial role of National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in enhancing security by taking INTERPOL into a new era of policing and innovation was high on the agenda of the 14th recently held annual Heads of NCBs Conference.
Meeting under the theme of ‘NCBs: the Gateways to Modern Policing – The Future is Now,’ 295 senior police officials from 145 countries focused on the importance of NCBs in turning technological and strategic innovation to the advantage of law enforcement worldwide.
Addressing a new era with stronger NCBs
Calling for a future-oriented global policing strategy structured around proactive NCBs, the President of INTERPOL, Meng Hongwei, opened the conference describing a future of global law enforcement where officers would work hand-in-hand with governments, international partners and private sectors in all areas of policing.
TERPOL, we cannot content ourselves with keeping pace, but must work tirelessly to stay ahead of criminals. In order to do so, our NCBs must be seen as both our sensors, and our first line of impact on the ground,” said the INTERPOL President.
Preparing tomorrow’s NCB
As part of the INTERPOL 2020 reform agenda, Heads of NCB are being briefed on planned changes in policing capabilities, and best practice on how INTERPOL and its member countries use new technology and capabilities for state-of-the-art police work.
Over the period of three days (10 – 12 April), delegates reviewed new INTERPOL projects aimed at preparing the world’s police for the crime challenges of tomorrow, including:
- The use of artificial intelligence in modern policing tools.
- Digital witness programmes.
- Facial recognition and biometric identification capabilities.
- Collection of biometrics for inmates convicted for terrorism related offences.
- Online training platforms and translating tools.
An evolving police organization
“At INTERPOL, there will never be a one-size-fits-all approach to the way we serve our member countries, which is why we tailor our capabilities to meet NCB imperatives,” said Jürgen Stock, Secretary General, INTERPOL
In this respect, INTERPOL has redesigned its operational framework to include three global programmes against terrorism, organized crime and cybercrime, with characteristics and solutions tailored to each region.
“We are moving into a new era – one in which INTERPOL is the strategic bridge between law enforcement and other domains, where INTERPOL is the hub for regional security actors, and in which access to INTERPOL’s global network is propagated to frontline officers in our member countries.”
“In this evolution of how INTERPOL delivers its policing capabilities, our NCBs remain absolutely central in guiding our efforts and deploying our capabilities throughout the membership,” added the Head of INTERPOL.
Making police data move faster than criminals
Testimony to the importance of innovation and constant modernization in policing are INTERPOL’s network projects currently boosting NCB capability across the globe:
- I-ONE: Modernizing African NCBs so they can share and receive police information and give frontline police at border crossings the capacity to better detect criminals or criminal activity.
- Twinning: A resourceful way of capitalizing on existing resources, abilities and skillsets, INTERPOL has launched a programme permitting NCBs to draw on each other’s assets and operate at top capacity regardless of geography, financial capacity or degree of development.
- With INTERPOL database queried 180 times every second over its secure global police communications system I-24/7, INTERPOL’s global database and network are amongst the most advanced capabilities the organization provides member countries to prevent and investigate crime.
Illustrating how fast INTERPOL is growing to face ever-accelerating change, delegates heard that the number of searches from INTERPOL’s wanted persons database has increased from 450 thousand a year in 2005 to 3.9 million a day in 2017. They also heard that INTERPOL’s stolen and lost travel documents database has expanded from 8 million in 2005 to more than 74 million today.
During the three days of the meeting, participants had the opportunity to pay tribute to fallen police officers worldwide at a memorial which INTERPOL recently unveiled at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon as well as the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore.