Technology upgrade for the Border Liaison Office network
Bangkok (Thailand), 2 June 2014 - UNODC announced today an upgrade at the Border Liaison Offices (BLOs) in 7 locations as part of the PATROL initiative, in the presence of Pol. Gen. Watcharapol Prasanratchakij, acting Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police.
The main objective of the BLOs is to promote an effective exchange of information on actual and potential transnational criminal activities among law enforcement agencies. Over more than a decade, the BLO network has contributed to the dismantling of cross-border criminal operations and it has expanded to all countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
"The BLO network is one of the most effective tools to promote law enforcement at the border, proving to be a very useful mechanism for Thailand to cooperate with Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar to combat transnational crime" said Gen. Watcharapol Prasanratchakij, during ceremony held at the headquarters of the Royal Thai Police.
"With this technological equipment, UNODC hopes to improve the flow of information among BLOs to counter transnational crime. Most importantly, the 11 BLOs in Thailand will be connected to the existing intelligence network managed by the Transnational Crime Coordination Centres. In this way BLOs will become a valuable source of sensitive information but also the recipients of strategic intelligence to tackle organized crime" said Giovanni Broussard, Programme Officer with the PATROL project.
By the end of June 2014 the PATROL project will complete the refurbishment of 54 BLOs across 5 countries. During a recent similar announcement in Vientiane Pol. Col. Khamphon Sihapanya - Deputy Director General of the Lao Police Department - highlighted that "the provision of technology to 14 BLOs in Lao PDR will provide a very strong incentive to promote law enforcement cooperation with neighboring countries".
Borders in this region are exposed to tremendous pressure. Transnational organized crime in Southeast Asia still generates tens of billions of dollars every year - 90 according to UNODC - by smuggling migrants, trafficking drugs, trading protected wildlife, producing counterfeit goods and much more. This situation is particularly alarming if we think that in the next few years the movements of people and goods through the borders of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) will grow even more as a result of the process of infrastructure development, economic integration and trade liberalization in the GMS and ASEAN.
To address this challenge and to support Governments in their efforts to improve border protection, in 2014 UNODC launched the new Regional Programme for Southeast Asia, which includes specific set of activities related to land borders.
The PATROL Project is supported by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection.