South African criminologist to serve on Interpol expert council

The Future Council will help Interpol connect law enforcement communities across the globe with the use of smart technology.

A Stellenbosch University (SU) criminologist, Dr Guy Lamb, will form part of a high-level expert council to help Interpol’s future vision meet the law enforcement needs of its member countries.

Lamb, from the Department of Political Science at SU, was invited to serve on Interpol’s Future Council. The decision to form such a council was taken at Interpol’s General Assembly in Vienna, Austria, last year. The council will ensure the further implementation of the organisation’s Vision 2030 meets the needs of those it serves.

Interpol’s vision is to connect the global law enforcement community to ensure a safer world. This includes harnessing the latest smart technologies and proactive policing to counter and prevent crime through international cooperation.

The Future Council will offer Interpol advice and recommendations on how to achieve this vision as effectively as possible.

The council will comprise up to eight crime prevention and policing experts from across the globe. This is a significant development, considering that police organisations generally prefer to seek advice from within their ranks rather than to engage with outside experts.

“As a South African, I am deeply honoured to have been invited to serve on the council,” says Lamb.

“It signals an acknowledgement by Interpol that South Africa has been facing complex crime problems for years, and that our country has built significant academic expertise across disciplines to devise realistic solutions to our problems in conjunction with the police and policymakers.”

Over the past decades, the South African government and civil society have pursued various methodologies to combat, reduce and prevent crime and violence.

Government also realised that to deal with crime effectively, it needed a whole-of-society approach. This ultimately led to the compilation of the Integrated Crime and Violence Prevention Strategy (ICVPS), which Cabinet approved in 2022.

Lamb has been a key player in these efforts. As a member of the National Planning Commission (NPC), he works with government and non-governmental organisations to establish the most appropriate way to implement the ICVPS.

Although their names have yet to be announced, the other members of the Future Council will likely include experts from the Americas, Europe and Asia. A formal public launch of the structure is anticipated to happen in July.

The fact that Interpol includes academics such as Lamb in this advisory structure is a recognition that the police need to draw on the expertise of researchers and scholars who can provide evidence-based insights into crime and its prevention says Lamb.

His inclusion in the Future Council also presents valuable opportunities for South Africa’s fight against crime.

“The discussions of the Future Council and its associated networks will be extremely valuable, as the diverse perspectives I will engage with will broaden my understanding of crime prevention issues and solutions in other countries,” Lamb explains.

“I will then be able to use those insights in my research and policy-related work back home, especially through my involvement with the NPC.”

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