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Law enforcement is 'missing link' in fight against maritime piracy, Interpol

afrol News, 29 May - The INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has today said that maritime piracy should be considered an international organised crime problem requiring a law enforcement investigative approach, rather than a solely military response.

Addressing the G8 Justice and Interior Ministers’ meeting in Rome (28 - 30 May), the head of INTERPOL said that law enforcement could provide the critical link between military interventions which led to arrests, and the prosecution of maritime pirates as well as investigation of their modus operandi. Which he said was a vital link currently missing.

“There is clearly a need for a common international strategy that includes a law enforcement element to combat maritime piracy and armed robbery at sea,” said the Secretary General.

In this respect, Mr Noble proposed the creation of an investigative prosecutorial taskforce based in the affected region, which he said could be supported by INTERPOL’s global tools and network of 187 member countries with their investigative and operational expertise to provide the means for international operational co-operation against maritime piracy.

Highlighting the urgent need for collecting and sharing information, such as photographs, fingerprints and DNA, Mr Noble said that, 'right now, we are in a situation in which there are pirates in custody while others have been arrested and released, but there is no central system in place for collecting, exchanging and processing data to help connect the dots.’

“We need to create databases with information on those people we know are involved in order to build a better picture of who else is implicated and how they operate,” Mr Noble said.

“These pirates are organised criminals targeting victims, taking them hostage and using extortion to get money - we must therefore follow the money trail to strike a blow at the economic interests of this type of organised crime,” he emphasised.

In addition to the sixteen G8 ministers, other participants at the meeting included the European Commissioner Jacques Barrot, UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa, UNICRI (United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute) Director Sandro Calvani, and the interior and justice ministers of the Czech Republic, which currently holds the European Union presidency.

Piracy has taken toll at sea, especially off the Somali coast, which is highly infested. Pirates target commercial and other vessels, including those delivering humanitarian aid, for huge ransom demands.

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