INTERPOL recently unveiled its novel metaverse law enforcement strategy by allowing visitors to tour a digital twin of its General Secretariat headquarters in France, it announced in October.
The organisation announced the news at the 90th INTERPOL General Assembly meeting in New Delhi, becoming the world’s first law enforcement metaverse platform.
At the event, General Assembly delegates and representatives entered the virtual recreation using Meta Quest virtual reality (VR) headsets and personal avatars.
INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said in a statement,
“For many, the Metaverse seems to herald an abstract future, but the issues it raises are those that have always motivated INTERPOL – supporting our member countries to fight crime and making the world, virtual or not, safer for those who inhabit it […] We may be entering a new world, but our commitment remains the same”
The intergovernmental body also stated it had created an Expert Group on the Metaverse to secure the future of the upcoming immersive world and address law enforcement concerns.
The news comes as institutions and organisations debut their virtual spaces for several key purposes, leading to a spike in interest in the Metaverse as an exhibitive platform for large groups.
INTERPOL’s Virtual Police Headquarters
In addition to touring the virtual twin of its Lyon-based headquarters, INTERPOL’s metaverse allows visitors to interact with the avatars of police officers.
Trainees could also enrol in immersive training courses such as policing and forensic investigation, among others, via the platforms Secure Cloud technologies.
The group’s Capacity Building and Training Directorate opened a module on verifying and screening travel documents. Learners tested their skills in a digital twin of an airport Border Force point.
The news comes after INTERPOL released its Global Crime Trend report, which found crime increasingly moved from physical to online activities amid a rise in digital transformations.
More than 60% of respondents ranked crimes such as money laundering, ransomware, and phishing attacks as high threats – placing financial and cyber crimes above any other category.
Cyber-enabled financial crimes have sharply increased throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic. pic.twitter.com/y8mk7HkJsY
— INTERPOL (@INTERPOL_HQ) October 19, 2022
It added that criminals would exploit the Metaverse and recently, in a major partnership with the World Economic Forum, Meta, Microsoft, and many others, warned of potential cybercrime, including “social engineering scams, violent extremism, and misinformation.”
Criminality would expand along with the number of active users on the spatial communications platform, leading to crimes against children, data theft, financial misconduct, and assault incidences, presenting “significant challenges,” INTERPOL explained.
Madan Oberoi, INTERPOL Executive Director of Technology and Innovation, added,
“By identifying these risks from the outset, we can work with stakeholders to shape the necessary governance frameworks and cut off future criminal markets before they are fully formed. Only by having these conversations now can we build an effective response”
The High-Level Metaverse?
Security and law enforcement organisations like INTERPOL have shown interest in using the Metaverse for remote working, networking with colleagues, training, and archiving crime scene evidence, it said.
Other governments have begun rapidly adopting metaverse technologies to test numerous use cases for citizens, clients, and colleagues.
Barbados was the first to enter the virtual world with an online embassy on Decentraland, becoming the first-ever country to host sovereign real estate on the Metaverse. The country aims to conduct e-visa processes, showcase tourism and government information, and connect with the global community.
Dubai has also positioned itself as a major hub for the Metaverse, namely after its leadership launched a Metaverse Strategy aiming to grow 40,000 jobs and attract billions to the capital city by 2027.
The Middle Eastern finance hub has also launched a Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) Metaverse for reaching citizens across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), boosting access to medical care.
South Korea and Shanghai, China have also opened similar contests to become major tech hubs for the next iteration of the Internet, with investments topping $187 million and $52 billion, respectively.