I recently had the honor of addressing the 81st General Assembly of the International Criminal Police Organization, briefing Ministers of Justice, Security and Home Affairs, as well as police chiefs, from over 170 countries around the world. The keynote speech focused on the disruptive impact advancing technologies are having on global security, crime and terrorism. I discussed with my law enforcement colleagues the challenges before us and how security officials must respond to our changing world in order to remain relevant and effective in our public service mission for the 21st century.
Over 1,000 senior law enforcement officials in attendance from around the world detailed the critical challenges for police in responding to next generation criminal phenomena and shared best practices based on national and international experience. The General Assembly is composed of delegates appointed by the governments of member countries and serves as INTERPOL’s supreme governing body. The invitation-only gathering meets once a year and takes all the major decisions affecting general policy, the resources needed for international cooperation, working methods, finances and programs of activities.
As the General Assembly was held in Rome, and the Vatican City’s State police force was the last nation to join Interpol, Pope Benedict XVI granted an audience with selected police delegates to the event. At the meeting, the Pope said that ‘the Holy See encourages all those working to combat this scourge of violence and crime at a time when our world is increasingly becoming a global village.’ “Thus it is necessary to safeguard individuals and communities by a constant renewed determination and by adequate means,” added Pope Benedict XVI.
Speaking on behalf of the world police body’s 190 member countries, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said: “Members of the INTERPOL family may speak different languages, wear different uniforms and be of different faiths or colors but we remain firmly bound together by our shared commitment to respect and protect the dignity of persons, their fundamental rights, and the rule of law. “Police take great pride in their work because they know they are making a difference: the difference between security and danger, between order and chaos, between hope and despair, between health and happiness and pain and suffering,” concluded the INTERPOL Chief.
INTERPOL is the largest international police organization with 190 member countries. Its work supports local national and regional law enforcement in a range of crime areas including; terrorism, organized crime, environmental crime, war crimes, maritime piracy, trafficking in illicit goods, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, child sexual abuse, corruption and cybercrime.