INTERPOL has released international guidelines to help law enforcement agencies and first responders to enhance their safety and effectiveness in light of the COVID19 pandemic.
These guidelines focus on highlighting diverse forms of criminal activities that have emerged or have become profound due to the sudden change in circumstances.
While highlighting such criminal activities and trends, the guidelines are aimed at providing practical advice for protection measures to law enforcement agencies.
Aligned with the international best practices and the recommendations given by World Health Organisation (WHO) these guidelines provide information on how officers can protect themselves and their families while performing duties such as:
While highlighting the crucial role played by enforcement agencies in contributing to the efforts to control the disease, the guidelines highlight certain emerging crimes which are related to the pandemic. These crimes are intimidation and deliberate dissemination attempts, fraud or phishing, cybercrime, and counterfeiting.
The purpose of these guidelines is to assist the law enforcement agencies to consider the recommendations therein as a response strategy which should be followed in addition to the directions/advisories issued by the public health authorities.
These guidelines are supposed to supplement and not replace the national guidelines.
'All measures taken by national law enforcement authorities should therefore conform with the applicable national legislation and international obligations', the agency states.
While launching the guidelines, INTERPOL Secretary General Jurgen Stock stated:
'I have been speaking with police chiefs around the world who, along with their officers, are facing enormous pressure because of COVID-19. We are in this together, and INTERPOL will continue to provide whatever assistance our 194 member countries need.'
In addition to these guidelines, INTERPOL's specialised crime units have agreed to share the latest trends and threats related to COVID-19, with its Command and Coordination Centre ensuring calls for assistance are answered.