FECL 15 (May 1993):
Mister Chairman, Dear Colleagues,
The Swiss delegation attaches great importance to this item.
We all know that, besides Interpol with its worldwide field of action, new organisations have been created during recent years within the frame of the European Community, in order to develop police cooperation. It is of course the right and even the duty of States to seek to improve methods of cooperation and it can be easily imagined that similar organisations will be created in other regions of our continent.
For some time now, many of the countries represented here today use Police Liaison Officers and it is a well known fact that today's police information is partlt exchanged outside Interpol channels. The importance of NCB,s [Interpol's National Coordination Bureaus] as such - indeed of the organisation as a whole - is therefore decreasing.
Even worse than this rather hierarchical-theoretical consequence is the fact that Interpol-NBC's are becoming weaker and that several authorities are sometimes dealing with a same case, creating an increasing wastage of administrative work-power, and this in time of dwindling funds.
The former policy of the General Secretariat and of the interpol organisation as such are possibly not altogether innocent to the fact that these new bodies are now appearing. They are also no doubt the consequence of the sphere of responsibility imposed on Interpol through its constitution. It was probably already too late when Interpol established the European Secretariat and the latter became fully operational - and this presumably only after its move to Lyon. This is mainly because many of the countries represented here today - including Switzerland - did not pay enough attention to the development of EUSEC [European Secretariat] and did not support it with sufficient manpower.
Although Switzerland is an outsider to the European Community and to Europoland other such organisations, we believe that the politically sanctioned new channels now used to improve cooperation - and which bypass Interpol - cannot be changed.
These questions have already been discussed by this conference in London in 1991 and in Rome the following year, when some of us wrongly believed that the clock would be turned back. This rather reactive and passive attitude will - in our opinion - be unsuccessful. The point is not that we want information about the status of these organisations, but that we seek an as close and efficient cooperation as possible.
Seen from the outside, we understand that the TREVI-memberstates and more so memberstates within the frame of the Schengen-agreement and some concepts of EUROPOL are establishing an exchange of information and other actions along the well known lines of Central Offices.
We wonder if we - as members of Interpol - should not set the ball rolling. By that we mean that if countries - on a continental or regional level - want to create convenient Central Offices besides their NCB for international police cooperation, they should be allowed to do so.
They should be perfectly free to establish such Offices to deal with specific offenses or only for extending the field of cooperation.
However, it is essential that all these Offices should be as closely connected to their national Interpol NCB as possible, this in the interest of a smooth flow of information and so as to avoid double work and wasting energy.
As you can see from our comments, we go further than - for instance the recommendation which was adopted in Rome last year. We are of an opinion that this subject is worth being discussed closely and that - providing that other countries consider our idea as worthy of being examined - the EUSEC is asked to prepare a draft recommendation for the European Continental meeting at the next General Assembly in Aruba.
I thank you for your attention.