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What is INTERPOL? Powers and Functions of International Criminal Police Organization

What is INTERPOL? Powers and Functions of International Criminal Police Organization


  • GS 3 || International Relations || International Organizations || Miscellaneous

Why in the news?

The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is the world’s largest international police organization with 192 member countries.


  • With 192 member countries, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is the world’s largest international police organisation. The major goal of its creation is to allow the international police to safeguard the safety of people all across the globe.
  • In 1914, the first International Criminal Police Congress was convened in Monaco, and the idea for Interpol was born. It was founded as the ‘International Criminal Police Commission’ in 1923. In 1956, the organisation was given the name “INTERPOL.” Lyon is home to INTERPOL’s headquarters (France). “Meng Hongwei” is the current chairman. The General Assembly of INTERPOL is the organization’s governing body.

Objectives of INTERPOL:

  • To ensure and encourage the broadest possible mutual aid between all criminal police authorities, while remaining within the bounds of national laws.
  • To build and enhance all institutions that aid in the prevention and prosecution of common law offences.
  • It is prohibited from engaging in political, military, religious, or racial interventions or activities.

Structure of INTERPOL:

  • The governing body, the General Assembly, gathers all countries once a year to make decisions.
  • The General Secretariat is in charge of coordinating day-to-day actions in the fight against a variety of offences.
  • It is manned by both police and civilians and is led by the Secretary General.
  • An INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) serves as the main point of contact for the General Secretariat and other NCBs in each nation.
  • The NCB is normally housed in the government ministry in charge of policing and is controlled by national police officials.

INTERPOL – General Assembly:

  • It is Interpol’s highest governing body, including representation from all of the organization’s member countries.
  • It meets once a year for a four-day session to discuss and vote on activities and policy.
  • At the Assembly, each country is represented by one or more delegates, who are usually law enforcement heads.
  • The members of the Interpol Executive Committee, the governing body that “provides advice and direction in between sessions of the Assembly,” are also elected by the Assembly.

Functions of INTERPOL:

In 192 member countries, INTERPOL allows international police to collaborate to combat international crime. For these three categories of crimes, it largely employs its police knowledge and capabilities.

  • Counter-Terrorism
  • Organized crime
  • Cyber Crime

Main Functions of INTERPOL are as follows:

  • Securing Police Communication Services Around the World: Interpol has created the I-24/7 (Information 24×7) global police communication system, which allows any member country to safely collect and exchange data about crime, criminals, and other issues. The Liaison Bureau (LB) is linked to this communication system, and any country’s chief officer can use the Liaison Bureau to obtain Interpol services.
  • Operational data services and databases for police: Member countries can access this data immediately through the database I-24/7 whenever they need it. Member countries, including security forces, have direct and quick access to a variety of databases, stolen vehicles, and stolen and lost travel documents, stolen items of art, nominal data, DNA profiles, counterfeit payment cards, and fingerprints.
  • Issuing of notices against global criminals: Through a system of worldwide alerts, INTERPOL also publishes severe crime-related statistics. At the request of member countries, INTERPOL’s General Secretariat (IPSG) issues notices in the organization’s four official languages: English, French, Arabic, and Spanish.
  • Reducing organized and new types of crime: INTERPOL is dedicated to the reduction of organised crime, criminal networks, the eradication of illegal markets, and the protection of vulnerable people. To apprehend criminals all around the world, INTERPOL issues seven different types of alerts. The Indian government is enlisting INTERPOL’s assistance in apprehending Dawood Ibrahim, a suspect in the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings.
  • Counter Terrorism Operations: One of INTRPOL’s key responsibilities is to ensure worldwide unity against international terrorism and to implement measures to deal with chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear assaults anywhere in the globe.
  • Cyber Crime: Cybercrime is a new sort of threat in the twenty-first century. There are numerous incidents of cyber-crime occurring all over the world. Recently, the Ransomware attack shook the world by compromising the systems of numerous organisations all over the globe.

Different Types of INTERPOL Notices:

By issuing color-coded ‘notices’ in four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Arabic — Interpol encourages information transmission, knowledge sharing, and research between nations.

  • Red Notice: It is a request to find and temporarily detain a person pending extradition. On the basis of a valid national arrest warrant, it is issued by the General Secretariat at the request of a member country or an international tribunal. The fugitive’s arrest, on the other hand, is based on the laws of the member countries in which he or she is located.
  • Yellow Notice: It’s given out to help find missing people, most of whom are children, or to identify people who can’t identify themselves. This is particularly valuable in cases of human trafficking or missing persons as a result of natural disasters.
  • Blue Notice: It’s used to gather more information on a person’s identity, location, or behaviours in connection with a crime. This does not guarantee the person’s extradition or arrest.
  • Black Notice: It’s a request for information about unidentified bodies found in member countries.
  • Green Notice: Its purpose is to provide information and warnings on individuals who have committed criminal offences and are likely to repeat them in other countries.
  • Orange Notice: It’s used to warn people of an event, a person, an object, or a process that poses a major and immediate hazard to public safety.
  • Purple Notice: It is a request for information about criminals’ methods of operation, objects, gadgets, and hiding tactics.

Criticisms against INTERPOL:

  • International arrest warrant system: It has been chastised because its international arrest warrant system has been exploited by countries seeking to punish political opponents.
  • Disparities on basis of budget allocation: Interpol is accountable to the countries who provide the majority of its budget, even if those countries are not democratic.
  • In the last fifteen years, the number of Red Notices has climbed tenfold.
  • Traveling across borders exposes those targeted to the prospect of detention, as well as issues acquiring visas and opening bank accounts, as well as reputational damage.
  • Interpol’s operations are still shrouded in secrecy, and its acts are unaccountable.
  • Globalized authoritarian regimes have been accused of hijacking, repurposing, and weaponizing it.


  • Cybercriminals are attempting to use ransomware to target hospitals and institutions on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, according to INTERPOL.
  • Interpol warned 194 countries, including India, that organisations at the vanguard of the worldwide response to the COVID-19 outbreak had been targeted by ransomware operations aimed to lock them out of their critical systems in order to extort payments.
  • The agency’s Cybercrime Threat Response Team had noticed an uptick in the number of attempted ransomware attacks against major virus response organisations and infrastructure.
  • A ‘Purple Notice’ was also issued by Interpol. It is issued to gather or disclose information on criminals’ tactics, objects, devices, and concealing methods.