The International Criminal Police Organization, 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.

INTERPOL is the second largest international police organization after the United Nations by member states, with 190 member countries. The organization’s headquarters is in Lyon, France. Its current Secretary-General is Ronald Noble, a former United States under Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement. Succeeding Khoo Boon Hui, its current President is Deputy Central Director of the French Judicial Police Mireille Balestrazzi. Interpol maintains seven regional bureaus.

Interpol work focuses primarily on public safety, terrorism, crimes against humanity, environmental crime, genocide, war crimes, organized crime, piracy, illicit traffic in works of art, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, white-collar crime, computer crime, intellectual property crime and corruption.

INTERPOL facilitate international police cooperation even where diplomatic relations do not exist between particular countries. Organization prohibits ‘any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character’.

Interpol’s aims

  • 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.

INTERPOL in fact, is an international police organization to extend co-operation for coordinated action on the part of member countries and their police forces which may furnish or request for information or services for combating – international crime.

INTERPOL’s vision is “Connecting Police for a Safer World”, yet a safer world cannot be achieved by police alone. It is a collective responsibility, requiring a global alliance from governments, businesses and civil society.

Interpol’s Command and Coordination Centers offer a 24/7 point of contact for national police forces seeking urgent information or facing a crisis. The original is in Lyon with a second in Buenos Aires added in September 2011. A third is scheduled to open in Singapore in September 2014.

The Second International Police Congress met in Vienna, Austria, and set up the International Criminal Police Commission (I.C.P.C.) was successfully founded as the direct forerunner of Interpol, and official Headquarters in Vienna. The I.C.P.C. operated satisfactorily until the outbreak of the Second World War but was essentially a European organization.

INTERPOL acknowledges the need to work in partnership with other organizations in order to combat international crime. A number of cooperation agreements with other international organizations, including the United Nations and the European Union. Several international conventions and bilateral treaties mention INTERPOL as a means to transmit sensitive and confidential criminal intelligence.

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