Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

What You Need to Know About ... Interpol

You've probably heard of Interpol and perhaps have an inkling of an idea what it is, but, like most of us, your knowledge stops there. What is Interpol and what does this organization actually do?

Interpol's emblem, in use since 1950, includes:

  • A globe to signify that Interpol operates worldwide
  • Olive branches to symbolize peace
  • A vertical sword to represent police action
  • Scales to symbolize justice

Interpol, which is short for The International Criminal Police Organization (you may also see it abbreviated as OIPC, or "Organisation Internationale de Police Criminelle"), is the world's largest international police organization. Created in 1923, Interpol now has 184 member countries, which work to support and assist authorities that combat international crime.

Interpol becomes especially necessary when two countries that don't see eye-to-eye must work together to stop crime. It is one of the organization's primary goals to facilitate international police cooperation even when diplomatic relations do not exist between certain regions.

The Structure of Interpol

Leadership and direction at Interpol is broken down into five sections.

General Assembly: This is the supreme governing body, made up of delegates from each member country. The Assembly meets annually.

Executive Committee: A 13-member committee elected by the General Assembly, including the president, three vice presidents, and nine delegates.

General Secretariat: Run by the Secretary General, the Secretariat is located in Lyon, France, and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Officials from 80 countries work together here (speaking any of the organization's four official languages: Arabic, English, French and Spanish). The Secretariat also has six regional offices in:

  • Argentina

  • Côte d'Ivoire

  • El Salvador

  • Kenya

  • Thailand

  • Zimbabwe

  • Plus a liaison office at the United Nations in New York

National Central Bureaus (NCB): Each member country maintains an NCB, which is staffed by national law enforcement officers.

Advisers: Experts who act as advisers may be appointed by the Executive Committee and confirmed by the General Assembly.

Interpol's Core Functions

All activities that Interpol carries out are based on three core functions.

  1. Secure global police communication services: This service, called I-24/7, provides a common platform for police around the world to communicate and share important information.

    Interpol helps put wanted criminals behind bars by circulating alerts and notices internationally and maintaining a database of criminal names, fingerprints, DNA information and more.

  2. Operational data services and databases for police: Interpol maintains databases including criminal names, fingerprints, DNA profiles and stolen property (passports, art pieces, vehicles) for police worldwide to access. They also offer services to assist police around the world in crime prevention and investigations.

  3. Operational police support services: Interpol provides support to law enforcement officials on the scene with emergency services and operational activities. They operate a Command and Coordination Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Priority Crime Areas

Interpol has prioritized the following areas of crime.

Drugs and Organized Crime
Interpol's primary role is to identify new drug trafficking trends and criminal organizations operating at the international level. They also assist national and international law enforcement agencies to fight the production, trafficking and abuse of cannabis, cocaine, heroin and other synthetic drugs.

At the request of a member country, Interpol will circulate internationally (via electronic means) notices that include identification details and judicial information about wanted criminals.

Public Safety and Terrorism
Interpol collects, stores, analyzes and exchanges information about suspected individuals and terrorist groups and their activities. They also coordinate the circulation of warnings on terrorists, criminals and weapon threats to police in member countries. Interpol hosted international bio-terrorism conferences in 2004 and 2005, at which hundreds of senior police officials and experts gathered to devise strategies to counter bio-terrorism.

Trafficking in Human Beings
One of Interpol's objectives is to stop the exploitation of humans for financial gain. According to the organization, women in developing countries and young children are particularly targeted for trafficking, smuggling and sexual exploitation.

Financial and High-Tech Crime
Interpol works to fight against crimes such as currency counterfeiting, money laundering, intellectual property crime, payment card fraud, computer virus attacks and cyber-terrorism. The organization works with Internet service providers, software companies, central banks and others to devise plans to stop criminals and protect consumers from such crimes.

Thinking of Joining Up?

If a career fighting crime with Interpol perks your interest, the organization accepts applications from nationals of all member countries to "ensure that the organization remains truly representative."

They also request that staffers accept the following values, which they say play an important role in maintaining a harmonious working environment (among such a diverse group of people):

  • Respect for human rights

  • Integrity

  • Commitment to quality

  • Availability

  • Team spirit

  • Value for money

  • Accountability

Recommended Reading

The FBI's Ten Most Wanted: A Short History & the Current Ten Most Wanted

How to Find Registered Sex Offenders and Child Predators in Your Area



To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This