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March 1, 2010 Return to News & Events

International Criminal Police Organization - INTERPOL

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International Criminal Police Organization - Most Wanted (Interpol Most Wanted)

Interpol, whose full name is the International Criminal Police Organization, is an international group that facilities the cooperation of police agents worldwide.  Established in the early 1920’s as the International Criminal Police Commission, it has since been known as INTERPOL – the International Criminal Police Organization.  This new name became adopted in 1956 and is still in place today.

Interpol’s headquarters is located in Lyon, France, and currently has 188 countries around the world with active membership.  The organization is funded through annual contributions and takes in almost $60 million per year.

Interpol hails as one of the largest intergovernmental organizations ever created, second only to the United Nations.  Being an inter governmental cross-country police force, Interpol must remain politically neutral as to avoid accusations of only serving the will of the people of one country or some countries and thereby neglecting the others. 

Interpol’s constitution forbids them from involvement in these following categories: 

  • Involvement in crimes that do not overlap several member countries
  • Involvement in Political Crimes
  • Involvement in Military Crimes
  • Involvement in Religious Crimes
  • Involvement in Racial Crimes

Interpol instead focuses on international  public safety concerns that overlap country borders including terrorism, organized crime, crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, piracy, illicit drug production & trafficking, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime and intellectual property crime. includes a free Interpol search with all of its criminal background checks.  This search looks for Individuals wanted by national jurisdictions or the International Criminal Tribunals.  If a match is made our system will return the details concerning the individual including their photo and date of birth.   Interpol's role is to assist the national police forces in identifying or locating these people.  When found Interpol seeks to arrest them and start the extradition process (i.e. the term “extradition” used here means the official surrendering of a suspected or convicted criminal by a state or nation).  Interpol circulates its warrants worldwide requesting that the wanted person(s) be arrested so the extradition process can commence.
 Interpol releases two types of notices into circulation:

  • When there is an arrest warrant issued for a person wanted for prosecution.
  • When there is a court decision for a person wanted to serve a sentence.

A current case published on February 23, 2010 requested the intervention of Interpol by the government of Brazil to help track down fugitives believed to have fled the country.  Brazil’s judges will then send a national arrest warrant for these fugitives directly to Interpol (they will send it to Interpol’s branch in Brazil).  Then following the review of Interpol officials, Interpol will publish notices to all its 188 member countries, causing instant international police visibility, giving worldwide focus to the arrest and extradition of these fugitives.

Interpol members also spend time training individuals from member countries on many topics including how to prevent and prepare for bioterrorist attacks.  Interpol’s anti-bioterrorism efforts included a five day bioterrorism prevention and preparation course in Wellington, New Zealand held last month from February 15 -19 2010.  Bioterrorism is a threat that does not care about country borders as its affects are linked to proximity not political boundaries.  If chemical weapons were used in a bordering state or nation, the impact would surely affect neighboring nations.

Interpol’s website ( receives approximately 2.2 million page visits every month.  In 2008 Interpol issued over 3,000 notices which led to the arrest of 718 people.

According to the Constitution used by INTERPOL, the organization is comprised of the following:
(The General Assembly and the Executive Committee form the organization’s Governance)
  • General Assembly
  • Executive Committee
  • General Secretariat
  • National Central Bureaus
  • Advisers
  • The Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files

General Assembly – INTERPOL’s supreme governing body, it meets annually and comprises delegates appointed by each member country. The assembly makes all important decisions related to policy, resources, working methods, finances, activities and programs.

Executive Committee – this 13-member committee is elected by the General Assembly, and comprises the president, three vice-presidents and nine delegates covering the four regions.

General Secretariat – located in Lyon, France, the General Secretariat operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is run by the Secretary General. Officials from more than 80 countries work side-by-side in any of the Organization’s four official languages: Arabic, English, French and Spanish. The Secretariat has seven regional offices across the world; in Argentina, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Kenya, Thailand and Zimbabwe, along with Special Representatives at the United Nations in New York and at the European Union in Brussels.

National Central Bureaus (NCB) – Each INTERPOL member country maintains a National Central Bureau staffed by national law enforcement officers. The NCB is the designated contact point for the General Secretariat, regional offices and other member countries requiring assistance with overseas investigations and the location and apprehension of fugitives.

Advisers – these are experts in a purely advisory capacity, who may be appointed by the Executive Committee and confirmed by the General Assembly

Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF) – this is an independent body whose mandate is threefold: (1) to ensure that the processing of personal information by INTERPOL complies with the Organization's regulations, (2) to advise INTERPOL on any project, operation, set of rules or other matter involving the processing of personal information and (3) to process requests concerning the information contained in INTERPOL's files. 

Information Source:

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