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Global Policing & Interpol

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October 22, 2022

What is the issue?

  • Sporadic instances of massacres, killings of children due to the proliferation of gun culture, exploitation and abuse of children and women, targeting of the elderly for identity theft and others are becoming commonplace.
  • So, the Interpol needs to get better at countering these global challenges.

What are the growing issues?

  • The areas of concern are growing and find resonance all over the world
    1. Human trafficking,
    2. Disturbing instances of financial crimes by the high and mighty,
    3. Safe haven provided to fugitives accused of terrorism and money laundering and
    4. Proliferation of illicit trade based on counterfeiting and smuggling.
  • Transnational organised crime continues to thrive due to illicit networks that operate on the strength of money laundering.
  • The complex intertwined structure of crimes funding terrorism across the globe is not yet demolished.

What are constraints on police forces?

  • Lawbreakers enjoy the ease of mobility and access to the internet.  
  • Police forces the world over, including highly modernised agencies with sophisticated wherewithal, are facing the challenge of acting with restraint, within the boundaries of legal procedures.
  • Rising criminality has caused law enforcement to come under strain.
  • It is against this backdrop that the 90th General Assembly of Interpol will be hosted by India in October 2022.
  • In 2015, Interpol, CBI and the World Bank held under their joint aegis the Global Focal Point conference on the specific issue of asset recovery.
  • This time, however, when the supreme governing body of Interpol - the UN General Assembly - meets, it will be required to formulate strategies to tackle the growing menace of crimes with transnational ramifications.

What methods does Interpol use?

  • Interpol uses 19 databases and tools for issuing alerts, sharing information about criminals and their modus operandi.
  • It has a huge repository of fingerprints, DNA profiles, facial recognition kits, cyber-enabled financial crimes, and property crimes, among others.
  • Interpol’s global security architecture is used for
    1. Providing information about crime and criminals in the digital space,
    2. Preventing abuse of cyberspace and
    3. Stalling hackers on the dark web.
  • Interpol databases populated by India relate to the Interpol Criminal Information System, stolen and lost travel documents, works of art and international child sexual exploitation.
  • Color-coded notices - Interpol issues colour-coded notices of various hues — red, yellow, blue, black, orange, green and purple.
  • A large number of red corner notices have been issued at the request of Indian law enforcement, resulting in the detention of several fugitives.
  •  India, as one of the oldest and strongest members of Interpol, has been involved in productive engagements over the years.
  • Several operations have been undertaken by the CBI with Interpol.

What could Interpol further do?

  • Interpol is required to articulate an expansion beyond its databases and tools.
  • The success of its secure i-24 for 24/7 information sharing aside, the importance of real-time dissemination of information obtained through unbiased usage of data analytics as a crucial imperative of emerging challenges must be primary.
  • Equitable significance should be accorded to the legitimate interests of growing economies pursuing democratic charters.
  • In its composition, Interpol is like the UN.
  • But it is not meant for dispute resolution. It is designed to assist the police forces of member nations.
  • Interpol is neither an investigative agency like the CBI nor a front-line police force.
  • It is mandated to share information and provide back-end technical assistance to law enforcement agencies.
  • Interpol action against notorious fugitives is consequential upon commensurate action from member nations where the fugitives might be seeking shelter.
  • Interpol cannot act on its own. The desired legal course of action depends on bilateral arrangements like mutual legal assistance treaties.

How should policing be?

  • Policing is not merely a process for maintaining the rule of law through deterrent punitive measures against crime and criminals.
  • Public-spirited efficient policing is the most meaningful confidence-building measure that people across diverse geopolitical contours desire and deserve.
  • Interpol and law enforcement agencies of member nations must endeavour to build, maintain and operate a people-centric ecosystem to meet the evolving challenges.


Indian Express | Why Interpol needs to get better

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