World's top brass meet to tackle crime

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pretoria - Top police chiefs and security experts from across the globe have met in Doha, Qatar, to discuss some of the biggest threats to the safety of their country's citizens.

Terrorism, organised crime and security at global events are just some of the issues up for discussion at the 79th Interpol General Assembly in Doha.

Addressing the gathering on Monday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa called for international cooperation in dealing with increasing threats of terrorism.

"The ability of police to exchange crucial data quickly and securely is a cornerstone of effective international law enforcement," he said.

This cooperation was also an important factor in tackling organised crime. Crime networks had grown in both reach and sophistication and an intensified global approach was needed to combat them.

Mthethwa highlighted the growing global problem of drugs, saying it was an issue almost all of Interpol's 188 member countries had encountered.

"The drug trade and its associated problems continue to grow in most parts of the world. Global abuse and accessibility of drugs has become increasingly complex, as trafficking routes have become shorter, more diverse and more easily traversed."

Interpol's primary drug control role was to indentify new drug trafficking trends and criminal organisations operating at an international level. Doing this would help law enforcement agencies counter the illicit production, trafficking and abuse of drugs, he said.

Mthethwa called on Interpol member countries to protect the integrity of the organisation and unite in the fight against crime.

He also used the event to thank the international policing organisation's role in making the 2010 FIFA World Cup a safe and successful tournament.

"The people and government of South Africa wish to thank Interpol, all member countries...for their cooperation and willingness to share information with our security agencies. Such cooperation assisted in ensuring a safe and secure 2010 FIFA World Cup," he said.

Interpol helped South African authorities identify major criminal threats that had the potential to disrupt the World Cup, the minister noted.

Interpol is the largest international police organisation, with 188 member countries. It facilitates cross-border police cooperation, supports and assists all organisations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime.