Progress Test 10-12 Audio Script
Good evening. Thank you for inviting me here this evening to talk about Interpol, the world’s largest police organisation. Now, what do you think of when you think of Interpol? A lot of people get their image of Interpol from books or films. Perhaps they think of a French policeman from the 1960s, wearing a long pale coat. Or perhaps they think of something like a James Bond film, or Mission Impossible, with beautiful secret agents. Actually, Interpol is rather different to this and tonight I’m going to give you an idea about the real Interpol. First of all, I’ll say a little about Interpol’s history. Then I’ll talk about Interpol today; I’ll tell you how it’s organised and, finally, what it does. There’ll be some time at the end for questions.
Although the idea for Interpol was born in 1914 at a conference in Monaco, the First World War interrupted its development. It was eventually created in 1923, in Vienna, Austria, although it had a different name at that time. In the beginning, there were fourteen member countries. The work of the organisation was interrupted by the Second World War. In 1946, Interpol reappeared with a new headquarters in Paris, and it has remained in France since then. In 1989 the headquarters was moved to Lyon, where it is today.
Now let’s look at the modern Interpol. First of all, how is it organised? Interpol now has 184 member countries. And let me point out that it’s those countries that pay for it! 184 countries – that makes it the second biggest international organisation after the United Nations. The headquarters in Lyon operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Staff from more than 80 countries work side-by-side, using the organisation’s four official languages: Arabic, English, French and Spanish. There are also six regional offices around the world. In all, we have about 450 staff. Yes, that’s right – perhaps 450 doesn’t sound a lot to you. But that figure is just for the staff in Lyon and the regional offices. Each member country also has its own Interpol office. The staff there come from the national police force. Don’t forget that most Interpol officers stay in their own country, and don’t spend their time travelling the world fighting crime, as they do in the books and films!
In the final part of my talk, I’m going to say something about what Interpol does. Basically, we help police forces catch criminals. But, and I must draw your attention to this, we never break the law in any country.
One of our priorities is problems connected with drugs. Another important area is trafficking in human beings – people trafficking – especially women and children from developing countries. We also take a great interest in public safety and terrorism.
Another key priority is financial crime. Why? Because criminals are using new technology to get information such as passwords or credit card details through the Internet.
So, how can we catch these criminals? Well, the most important thing we do is to run a global police communication system, so police around the world can share information about crime and criminals. The system allows police in one country to check the databases of police in another country. Interpol itself manages several databases, including names and photos of criminals, fingerprints, etc. Another important thing we do is to provide training courses for national police forces, and organise international conferences on crime. In 2001, about 1,400 criminals were found thanks to the efforts of Interpol.
So there we are. To conclude, we can say that Interpol is over 80 years old, and has grown a lot from the organisation that was set up in Vienna in 1923. Today, our headquarters is in Lyon, France, and 184 countries are members. We fight international crime using modern technology. We do everything we can to make the world a safer place for you and your families. Thank you for listening. Are there any questions?
Audience member: Yes, do you think organisations like Interpol have too much information about us – the public? For example, everywhere we go there are cameras taking photographs of us. There’s no private space anymore. What’s your opinion about this?
Speaker: Hmm, now that’s a very interesting and important question. Er, let me see if I can give you a short answer …
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