SINGAPORE: INTERPOL said it faces a challenge in making sure that its “Stolen and Lost Travel Documents” database is used by every country, especially the developing ones.
Technology is a key issue, as many countries do not have the infrastructure that allows them to integrate the database with their border-control procedures.
This was revealed on Wednesday as INTERPOL announced the launch of an event that connects government agencies with the private sector.
Border security was thrown into the spotlight when two passengers used stolen passports to get onto the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
It is likely they would not have travelled if immigration authorities in Kuala Lumpur had used INTERPOL's “Stolen and Lost Travel Documents” database.
Nearly 90 per cent of INTERPOL's 190 member nations feed information to this database, but few countries are tapping this resource.
Julia Viedma, director of international partnerships and development at INTERPOL, said: "Not everyone has the possibility of creating the interconnection between their national databases and the international one. Furthermore, some countries are not even able to provide instant access to the data at their border points."
Some 800 million searches were made on the database last year.
It churned out 67,000 positive hits - each in a matter of seconds.
INTERPOL said it is convincing ASEAN governments to use the database more often.
It believes most will come online by 2017.
But cost and a lack of infrastructure remain stumbling blocks and INTERPOL hopes the private sector can play a part.
Ms Viedma said: "We need the private partners. We need them to be able to adapt their solutions to the reality on the field.
“In each country there are different aspects. With these enhanced partnerships with the private industry we will at least be able to assist the countries to find the right solution for them to face these challenges."
Richard Wong, director of public sector and security practice at Frost & Sullivan, said: "The private sector can actually contribute a significant amount of ideas, bring in a different level of design thinking into such processes, as well as to such infrastructure, in order to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of security measures to be implemented."
To help foster public and private partnerships, INTERPOL is launching a new international event called INTERPOL World.
Border management will be among the key issues to be covered at the event.
Organisers said cross-border crime is getting increasingly global, aggressive and elusive.
For instance, a World Economic Forum report spanning 2012 and last year placed proceeds from cross-border crime over the same period at US$1 trillion.
INTERPOL World will be held in Singapore over three days in April next year.
It is supported by the Home Affairs Ministry.
INTERPOL World is expected to attract about 250 exhibitors as well as some 8,000 trade and professional visitors. - CNA/nd/xq
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