A senior Emirati police official has been elected president of Interpol.
Maj Gen Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi will serve a four-year term as head of the global crime fighting agency, which is based in Lyon, France.
He serves as inspector general of the UAE's Ministry of Interior. Maj Gen Al Raisi was elected by representatives of the 140 nations that are members of Interpol, gaining more votes than fellow candidate Czech police Col Šárka Havránková, at a meeting in Turkey on Thursday.
In a statement, he said it was "an honour" to be elected to the role.
“Interpol is an indispensable organisation built on the strength of its partnerships. It is this collaborative spirit, united in mission, that I will continue to foster as we work to make a safer world for people and communities," he said.
Secretary General Jürgen Stock, who oversees the day-to-day running of Interpol, welcomed Maj Gen Al Raisi’s appointment.
“I look forward to working closely with him in ensuring that Interpol continues to fulfil its mandate and support international police cooperation," he added.
Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to President Sheikh Khalifa, offered his congratulations, saying his election reflected the UAE's “achievements and efficiency in the field of law enforcement".
Writing in The National earlier this year, he spoke of the need to “modernise and transform” the organisation to tackle ever more sophisticated criminal activities.
“Interpol is at a crossroads. Criminals have adopted the latest technologies, in some respects outpacing law-enforcement agencies,” he wrote in September, as he set out his candidacy.
“To face these emerging forms of criminality, law enforcement co-operation and capacities must be ever more effective.”
Maj Gen Al Raisi, who already served on Interpol's executive committee, was seen as a front-runner before the election after travelling extensively to speak to global law enforcement figures about their hopes for the organisation. The role of the president, which is part-time and unpaid, is to chair the general assembly and three meetings of the executive committee each year.
Interpol, which has an annual budget of about $150 million, relies on the co-operation of its member countries to carry out operations.
Rather than arresting suspects itself, its personnel bring multiple agencies together on missions, which tackle human trafficking, the global drugs trade and the capture of high-profile criminals.
Abu Dhabi was recently one of the global centres in a major anti-trafficking operation led by Interpol that led to 286 arrests globally.
Interpol said authorities rescued about 430 human trafficking victims and identified 4,000 irregular migrants originating from 74 countries. Many of them required medical, psychological and housing assistance and were taken into the care of protective services.