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 on the subject of ‘Countering the Cross-Border Movement of Terrorism’, Secretary General Jurgen Stock explained how effective information sharing, capacity building and regional structures underpin that response.
“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 borders.”
With international police investigations extensively reliant upon up-to-date global data, not to mention greater access to Interpol’s own 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 FTFs. 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. In July, the organisation joined the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, in turn bolstering efforts against the flow of FTFs as well as Daesh financing.
The meeting also heard that counter-terrorism efforts 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 located 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 joining the dots globally to better understand the threat while at the same time providing the instruments to address that threat in the field. It’s a global response to what’s undoubtedly a global threat.”
Closer to home, City Hall has just played host to a meeting between security experts, including representatives from the Metropolitan Police Service and London’s Boroughs, as part of ongoing work designed to ensure London is as prepared as possible to respond to the threat of a terrorist attack.
The Met is working tirelessly with its partners to confront the terrorist threat. This includes arresting those who are planning, preparing for or funding terrorism, working with communities to prevent people being drawn into violent extremism and carrying out protective security operations. These diligent efforts should be applauded by the security community and the general public.