A new initiative led by Interpol will focus on improving border security in Southeast Asia, with the international police body warning that increased cross-border criminal activity will be a likely unintended consequence of the region’s growing integration.
Backed by the European Union in collaboration with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme II was launched on Tuesday at the ASEAN secretariat in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta.
The program will see security forces officials from all 10 ASEAN nations engage in three capacity developing schemes, focused on strengthening law enforcement capabilities at borders, improving training and developing operational activities and research.
The program will also involve research to assess the feasibility of a simplified visa system within the region.
“For law enforcement to be as effective as possible, it is vital that they have the information they need, when and where they need it, and this is especially true of border control points,” said Michael O’Connell, Director of Interpol’s Operational Support and Analysis Unit in a statement.
The new program is a continuation of the EU-ASEAN Border Management Programme introduced in Cambodia and Vietnam in June.
That saw frontline police at 16 sites along the two countries’ respective borders – eight sites in each country – gain increased access to Interpol’s tools and services.