Published: 13 April 2015
President of INTERPOL, Mrs Mireille Ballestrazzi
Secretary General of INTERPOL, Mr Jürgen Stock
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Welcome to Singapore, and the official opening of the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI).
Growing Complexity of Safety and Security Threats
2. We live in a world of growing safety and security challenges. Just in the last two weeks, a university in Kenya and Istanbul's police headquarters were attacked. A UN report says that more than 25,000 foreign fighters from 100 nations have travelled to join militant groups. The heightened terrorism threat, including self-radicalised individuals, poses serious risks to the safety and security of every country. We also see a stronger nexus between organised crime and terrorism as criminal networks exploit connectivity and technology to globalise their operations. Cybercrime is becoming more prevalent or pervasive, costing the global economy an estimated $400 billion a year.
3. There is a greater need for international law enforcement cooperation to counter these complex, transnational, multi-dimensional and fast-evolving threats.
INTERPOL - Catalysing International Policing Cooperation
4. INTERPOL, which was founded more than 100 years ago, has played an important role as the world's only global law enforcement organisation. Since the September 11 attacks in the US, INTERPOL has taken significant steps to build capacity and deepen cooperation against new and emerging threats. For example, the Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database helps member countries secure our borders against criminals using fraudulent documents. The INTERPOL Foreign Terrorist Fighter programme leverages INTERPOL's databases, notices, and information sharing networks to track, trace and assist member countries to apprehend terror suspects. These INTERPOL initiatives have proven very useful for law enforcement operations.
5. Singapore is honoured to play our part to support international law enforcement by hosting the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation, which is officially opened today.
IGCI - A Key Force Multiplier of Global Policing Action in an Era of Complexity
6. I see the IGCI contributing to international policing in three key areas.
7. First, the IGCI in Singapore will strengthen INTERPOL's global presence by complementing the General Secretariat HQ in Lyon, France, as well as its existing Command and Coordination Centres in Latin America and Europe. Having a significant presence in Asia allows INTERPOL to disseminate real-time alerts and coordinate operational responses around the clock and around the world. These alerts will allow member countries to be better placed to stop transnational security threats, including fugitives and the movement of illicit goods across jurisdictions.
8. Second, the IGCI's focus on innovation will enable INTERPOL to develop and use advanced tools and training techniques to build capacity in member countries to tackle emerging criminal threats. The IGCI will collaborate with research laboratories, academics, as well as private and public sector players, to develop innovative and practical policing solutions against cybercrime which can be tapped by member countries. Police and law enforcement agencies in this region can access INTERPOL's tools and programmes through the IGCI, to train and equip their officers to combat these new and emerging threats, thereby enhancing collective regional safety and security around the world.
9. Third, the IGCI can use Singapore's location in the heart of Asia to reach out to the rest of the region and beyond. The IGCI will help INTERPOL to form new partnerships with law enforcement agencies, think tanks, R&D start-ups and the private sector in Asia. Through the IGCI, INTERPOL can also gain a better understanding of Asian perspectives and expertise, to shape its R&D and operational responses against transnational threats.
10. We also hope that the IGCI will catalyse the formation of new links between the East and West, North and South, in the area of law enforcement. We have already seen some early signs of success. The Global Airline Action last November targeted criminals suspected of fraudulently purchasing airplane tickets online. It was coordinated by Europol, supported by Ameripol and INTERPOL, with the IGCI focusing on coordinating the operations in the Asia-Pacific region. This coordinated global action serves as a good model for how law enforcement agencies around the world can coordinate their operations through international and regional policing organisations to combat global crime syndicates.
11. There is thus much scope for the IGCI to serve as a key node in Asia and the world to support international operations against transnational crime. We look forward to more future collaborations in developing new capabilities, building capability and capacity, and conducting joint operations between law enforcement agencies in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as with INTERPOL and other regional partners through the IGCI.
12. Since the IGCI started operations in November 2014, it has already attained a significant capability with more than 110 officers from over 50 countries, of whom 45 are seconded officers from 33 member countries. The diverse staff profile is itself a strength of the IGCI. By seconding good officers to IGCI, member countries are helping to strengthen international and regional security and safety. This also enables sending countries to tap the specialist resources, expertise and networks at IGCI. When the officers return to their home countries after their secondments, they will bring back valuable experiences and perspectives, and form part of a stronger multi-national and multi-sectoral crime fighting INTERPOL alumni network.
13. I would like to thank the President, Secretary-General, as well as all member countries of INTERPOL for your strong support for IGCI. Singapore is indeed honoured to host the IGCI. We will continue working with INTERPOL and like-minded partners to enhance international cooperation against crime and terrorism.
14. Let us all work together, towards the INTERPOL vision of 'Connecting Police for a Safer World'. Thank you very much and congratulation.