The head of Interpol has stated that the global response to transnational terrorism must adapt to the evolving and expanding nature of the threat. Speaking at an international ministerial meeting in Bali on Countering the Cross-Border Movement of Terrorism, Secretary General Jürgen Stock said effective information sharing, capacity building and regional structures underpin the global response to terrorism.
“Across the world, attacks are becoming less predictable,” commented Stock. “Soft targets dominate the picture, while radicalisation cycles are now shortening. This requires faster decisions at the front lines and at borders.”
With international police investigations relying on up-to-date global data, as well as greater access to Interpol’s criminal databases, Stock observed that more information is required in order to help identify potential links to terrorism via its databases.
As recognised by UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014), sharing information through Interpol’s global network is vital to better identify and prevent the travel of suspected foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). Interpol currently holds records on nearly 8,000 FTF. Accessible in real-time at the front lines, these records have been contributed by some 60 member countries.
Interpol is also said to be exploiting “thousands” of additional records for analytical purposes.
Last month, Interpol joined the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, in turn bolstering efforts against the flow of FTFs and Daesh financing.
Long-term investment in security
The Bali meeting heard that counter-terrorism efforts also require long-term investment into establishing the sustainable infrastructure to access information, as well as building the right policing skills and capacity at the front lines. On that note, Interpol plans to expand its front line operational support by establishing regional counter-terrorism structures attuned to the threat landscape. Its liaison office in Bangkok and the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore offer further strategic opportunities for ongoing co-operation.
“Information sharing, capacity building and strong regional delivery are the very pillars of Interpol’s counter-terrorism strategy,” concluded Stock. “The aim is connecting police worldwide, as well as connecting the dots globally to better understand the threat while at the same time providing the instruments to address it in the field. It’s a global response to a global threat.”
Strengthening ASEAN’s border security networks to prevent the movement of criminals and terror suspects was the focus of Operation Red Lotus, conducted during May at main transit hubs in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. This Interpol-led operation involved immigration and police agencies undertaking enhanced passenger screening via global policing capabilities.
The operation fell under the EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme II, a European Union-funded initiative aiming to provide the policing capabilities to better manage the movement of people across borders.