Interpol said on Thursday that the Integrated Border Management Task Force coordinated several screening training operations at strategic border points and in airports in 16 countries to increase security.
“Countries can only assure the safety of their citizens if they can prevent dangerous people and goods from entering their borders, whether by land, air or sea,” Michael O’Connell, the director of operational support at Interpol, said. “Operations like these are therefore vital activities which give local border authorities the skills and knowledge to use Interpol’s databases to effectively secure and manage their international borders.”
Operation Hawk ran three phases to combine counter-terrorism training with operational activities to detect radiological or nuclear materials and components for chemical weapons. The operation was carried out in Côte d’Ivoire, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
More than 12,000 travelers were screened against Interpol’s nominal and Stolen and Lost Travel Document databases. Customs officials discovered more than 70 kg of sodium chlorate, which can be used to make Improvised Explosive Devices, in Thailand.
Border management training was conducted in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Timor Leste. Approximately 31,000 travelers were screened in the SLTD database, which revealed 11 people traveling with stolen papers. Officials also searched for radiological and nuclear material on individuals, vehicles and cargo.
The Smuggling Training Operation Programme provides border management training and use of the SLTD database at airports to obstruct criminal networks from providing illegal documents to immigrants.
Interpol held a STOP “train the trainer” workshop for 19 participants in Abidjan. Participants completed 8,600 searches using the SLTD database, which produced two hits of fraudulent paperwork.
Technical equipment to access Interpol’s I-24/7 police communication system was provided in member countries to assist in securing borders.
Operation Mwewe, an additional IBMTF program, was used in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The operation screened approximately 7,500 travelers in the SLTD database and approximately 500 vehicles against Interpol’s Stolen Motor Vehicles database.
The Government of Canada provides significant funding for the IBMTF.