INTERPOL: International Police Organization

INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organisation which was established in 1923. This organisation was formed to facilitate cross-border police cooperation, supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services to prevent or combat international crime.
Created On: Mar 10, 2016 09:55 IST
Modified On: Mar 11, 2016 12:06 IST

INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organisation which was established in 1923. This organisation was formed  to facilitate  cross-border police cooperation, supports and assists all organisations, authorities and services to prevent or combat international crime.


It has a strong network of 190 member countries; each represented by a National Central Bureau and committed on a daily basis to international police cooperation. These member countries have agreed to "ensure and promote the widest possible assistance between all criminal police authorities in the prevention and suppression of ordinary law crimes".


  • 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."
  • "It is strictly forbidden for the Organisation to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character."

A political offence is one which is considered to be of a predominantly political nature because of the surrounding circumstances and underlying motives, even if the offence itself is covered by the ordinary criminal law in the country in which it was committed. This interpretation, based on the predominant aspects of the offence, is embodied in a resolution adopted by Interpol's General Assembly in 1951.

In addition, a resolution adopted in 1984 states that, in general, offences are not considered to be political when they are committed outside a "conflict area" and when the victims are not connected with the aims or objectives pursued by the offenders.

Guiding principles of INTERPOL

International police co-operation within the ICPO-INTERPOL has always been conducted in accordance with the guiding principles which are given below:

  • Respect for National Sovereignty:  Co-operation is based on the actions taken by the police forces in the various member States, operating within their own national boundaries and in accordance with their own national laws.
  • Enforcement of Ordinary Criminal Law: The Organisation's field of activities is limited to crime prevention and law enforcement in connection with ordinary criminal offences. This is the only basis on which there can be agreement between all member states.
  • Universality:  Any member state may cooperate with any other and co-operation must not be impeded by geographical or linguistic factors.
  • Equality of all Members States: All the member states are provided with the same services and have the same rights, irrespective of the size of their financial contributions to the Organisation.
  • Co-operation with Other Agencies: Co-operation is extended through the National Central Bureaus to any Government agency concerned with combating ordinary criminal offences.
  • Flexibility of Working Methods: Although governed by principles designed to ensure regularity and continuity, working methods are flexible enough to take account of the wide variety of structures and situations in different countries.

Respect for these principles means that Interpol cannot have teams of detectives with supranational powers who travel around investigating cases in different countries. International Police cooperation has to depend on co-ordinated action on the part of the member States' police forces, all of which may supply or request information or services on different occasions.

Structure and Governance of INTERPOL

INTERPOL's activities are driven by member countries, within a clear framework of governing bodies and statutory meetings. The General Assembly and Executive Committee form the Organisation's governance.

  • General Assembly – INTERPOL’s supreme governing body, the General Assembly is composed of delegates appointed by each member country. It meets annually to take all important decisions related to policy, resources, working methods, finances, activities and programmes.
  • Executive Committee – Elected by the General Assembly, the Executive Committee is headed by the President of the Organization. It provides guidance and direction to the Organization and oversees the implementation of decisions made at the annual General Assembly.

Day-to-day implementation of the Organisation's strategic decisions is carried out by the General Secretariat and National Central Bureaus.

General Secretariat: It is located in Lyon, France; the General Secretariat operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is run by the  Secretary General. The Secretariat has seven regional offices across the world along with Special Representatives at the  United Nations in New York and at the European Union in Brussels.

National Central Bureaus (NCBs): Each INTERPOL member country maintains a National Central Bureau linking national police with our global network. Staffed by highly trained national law enforcement officers, NCBs are the lifeblood of INTERPOL, contributing to our criminal databases and cooperating together on cross-border investigations, operations and arrests.

Crime Areas of INTERPOL

Today’s the crimes have a transnational dimension and require a global response. Hence, INTERPOL work to prevent and investigate a wide range of crimes, delivering tangible initiatives and making a real difference to international cooperation. Some of the name given below:


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