The International Criminal Police Organization (French: Organisation internationale de police criminelle, OIPC – ICPO), or INTERPOL, is an intergovernmental organization facilitating international police cooperation. It was established as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) in 1923 and adopted its telegraphic address as its common name in 1956.2
Interpol has an annual budget of around €78 million, most of which is provided through annual contributions by its membership of 190 countries (as of 2015). The organization’s headquarters is in Lyon, France. It is the second largest political organization after the United Nations in terms of international representation. In 2013, the Interpol General Secretariat employed a staff of 756, representing 100 member countries.1 Its current Secretary-General is Jürgen Stock, the former deputy head of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office. He replaced Ronald Noble, a former United States Under Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement, who stepped down in November 2014 after serving 14 years.3 Succeeding Khoo Boon Hui, Interpol’s current President is former Deputy Central Director of the French Judicial Police Mireille Ballestrazzi.
To keep Interpol as politically neutral as possible, its charter forbids it, at least in theory, from undertaking interventions or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial nature or involving itself in disputes over such matters.4 Its work focuses primarily on public safety and battling terrorism, crimes against humanity, environmental crime, genocide, war crimes,5 organized crime, piracy, illicit traffic in works of art, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime, intellectual property crime and corruption.
The role of Interpol is defined by the general provisions of its constitution.
Article 2 states that its role is:
To ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
To establish and develop all institutions likely to contribute effectively to the prevention and suppression of ordinary law crimes.
Article 3 states:
It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.
Interpol is not a supranational law enforcement agency and has no agents who are able to make arrests.17 Instead, it is an international organization that functions as a network of criminal law enforcement agencies from different countries. The organization thus functions as an administrative liaison among the law enforcement agencies of the member countries, providing communications and database assistance, assisted via the central headquarters in Lyon, France.18
Interpol’s collaborative form of cooperation is useful when fighting international crime because language, cultural and bureaucratic differences can make it difficult for police officials from different nations to work together. For example, if ICE and FBI special agents track a terrorist to Italy, they may not know whom to contact in the Polizia di Stato, if the Carabinieri have jurisdiction over some aspect of the case, or who in the Italian government must be notified of the ICE/FBI’s involvement. ICE and FBI can contact the Interpol National Central Bureau in Italy, which would act as a liaison between the United States and Italian law enforcement agencies.
Interpol’s databases at the Lyon headquarters can assist law enforcement in fighting international crime.17 While national agencies have their own extensive crime databases, the information rarely extends beyond one nation’s borders. Interpol’s databases can track criminals and crime trends around the world, specifically by means of collections of fingerprints and face photos, lists of wanted persons, DNA samples and travel documents. Interpol’s lost and stolen travel document database alone contains more than 12 million records. Officials at the headquarters also analyze these data and release information on crime trends to the member countries.
An encrypted internet-based worldwide communications network allows Interpol agents and member countries to contact each other at any time. Known as I-24/7, the network offers constant access to Interpol’s databases.17 While the National Central Bureaus are the primary access sites to the network, some member countries have expanded it to key areas such as airports and border access points. Member countries can also access each other’s criminal databases via the I-24/7 system.
Interpol issued 13,637 notices in 2013, of which 8,857 were Red Notices, compared to 4,596 in 2008 and 2,037 in 2003. As of 2013, there are currently 52,880 valid notices in circulation.1
In the event of an international disaster, terrorist attack or assassination, Interpol can send an Incident Response Team (IRT). IRTs can offer a range of expertise and database access to assist with victim identification, suspect identification and the dissemination of information to other nations’ law enforcement agencies. In addition, at the request of local authorities, they can act as a central command and logistics operation to coordinate other law enforcement agencies involved in a case. Such teams were deployed 8 times in 2013. Interpol began issuing its own travel documents in 2009 with hopes that nations would remove visa requirements for individuals travelling for Interpol business, thereby improving response times.
Division 13 is a secret organization within Interpol that utilizes special individuals with unusual abilities and interests in protecting mortal interests as well as intervening where neccessary to maintain peace and the status quo. This division is also sworn to maintain nuetrality between the supernatural entities and organizations and works with the White Council, Vampire Courts, and Fae Courts on a routine basis. Founded in 2000 it is a relatively new organization that is slowly earning respect amongst the charter members, though the White Council often pushes back stating that Interpol is just a redundant version of themselves.
Current Rank Structure:
- Asst. Superintendent
- Senior Superintendent