Jamaica Customs Granted Access to Interpol’s Database to Strengthen Border Security

Jamaica Customs Granted Access to Interpol’s Database to Strengthen Border Security

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has gained direct access to the information system of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), as it seeks to strengthen Jamaica’s border-protection capabilities.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate the undertaking was signed between the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the JCA on Tuesday (July 25).

INTERPOL is an independent intergovernmental organisation responsible for ensuring and promoting the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities.

INTERPOL National Central Bureau for Jamaica in Kingston (NCB Kingston) is headed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

Speaking at the signing held at the JCA’s Head Office in Kingston, the entity’s Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner of Customs, Velma Ricketts Walker, said the agreement is a significant milestone, as JCA now has at its disposal information on crimes and other offences from 195 INTERPOL member states.

“This will enable our border-protection capabilities to be more real-time, as information is shared faster across borders, accelerating the creation of intelligence packages and enabling more precise border intercepts,” she said.

Mrs. Ricketts Walker said that access to these systems will also strengthen the JCA’s intelligence and risk-based targeting approach, which is crucial to preventing crimes related to cross-border trade.

“This access will provide us with new tools for identifying suspected players or individuals of interest, their associates and associated entities as well as spotting and preventing the flow of unlawful or criminal activities at Jamaica’s borders,” she said.

Mrs. Ricketts Walker explained that working with key stakeholders and international partners is key to eliminating the cross-border movement of illicit goods and activities.

“The criminal underworld is quite organised; therefore, we have to step up our efforts to combat them more effectively,” she noted.

Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, highlighted that the benefit from being a member of INTERPOL is “umatched”.

“One of the unique things about INTERPOL is that it doesn’t recognise global political issues…; you may have in other spheres issues that cause friction and ruptures between countries, but you’re still able, as law enforcement, to reach into databases that everybody contributes to, to still find out things,” he said.

The Commissioner noted that access to INTERPOL will bring value to the JCA.

“Each time we sign one of these MOUs, they start to remove the gaps in the security architecture, and these are the gaps that organised crime uses to traverse our systems, traverse our country, our region and even globally,” Commissioner Anderson said.


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