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​Stellenbosch criminologist to serve on new INTERPOL Future Council
Author: Article by Asanda Alex Plaatjies and Dr Guy Lamb
Published: 06/06/2024

​Dr Guy Lamb of the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University has accepted an invitation to serve on the Future Council of the International Criminal Police Organisation, commonly known as INTERPOL.

This follows the passing of a resolution at INTERPOL's General Assembly in Vienna, Austria, at the end of 2023 to create a high-level expert council who could ensure that further implementation of the organisation's Vision 2030 meets the law enforcement needs of INTERPOL's member countries. The Future 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 own ranks rather than to engage with outside experts.

“As a South African, I am deeply honoured to have been invited to serve on the INTERPOL Future Council," says Dr 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 in the country. 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. Dr Lamb has been a key player in these efforts. As a member of the National Planning Commission (NPC), he is currently working 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 take place in July 2024. The fact that INTERPOL is including academics such as Dr 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.

Dr Lamb's 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," Dr 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."

INTERPOL's vision is to connect the global law enforcement community to ensure a safer world. This includes harnessing the latest smart technologies as well as 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.