Basics and Background
  • The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL)is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.
  • It originated with the first International Criminal Police Congress in 1914,which brought officials from 24 countries to discuss cooperation on law enforcement matters.
  • It was founded in 1923 as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC).
  • In 1946, after the end of World War II, the organization was revived as the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO)by officials from Belgium, France, Scandinavia and the UK.
  • In 1956, the ICPC adopteda new constitution and the name INTERPOL.
  • It is headquartered in Lyon, France.
  • It has seven regional bureaus worldwide and a National Central Bureau (NCB) in all 194 member states, making it the world’s largest police organization.
  • India has been a member since 1956.
  • India maintains NCB which serves as the national platform for cooperation between domestic law enforcement units and the international police community.
  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is designated as National Central Bureau of India.


Objectives of INTERPOL:
  • To ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistancebetween all criminal police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries.
  • To establish and develop all institutions which contribute to the prevention and suppression of ordinary law crimes.
  • It cannot undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.


Structure of INTERPOL:
  • The General Assembly is the governing body and it brings all countries together once a year to take decisions.
  • The General Secretariat coordinates the day-to-day activities to fight a range of crimes.
  • Run by the Secretary General, it is staffed by both police and civilians.
  • In each country, an INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) provides the central point of contact for the General Secretariat and other NCBs.
  • The NCB is run by national police officials and usually sits in the government ministry responsible for policing.


INTERPOL – General Assembly:
  • It is Interpol’s supreme governing body,and comprises representatives from all its member countries.
  • It meets annually for a session lasting approximately four days, to vote on activities and policy.
  • Each country is represented by one or more delegates at the Assembly,who are typically chiefs of law enforcement agencies.
  • The Assembly also elects the members of the Interpol Executive Committee, the governing body which “provides guidance and direction in between sessions of the Assembly”.


Assembly Resolutions:
  • The General Assembly’s decisions take the form of Resolutions.
  • Each member country has one vote.
  • Decisions are made either by a simple or a two-thirds majoritydepending on the subject matter.


Functions of INTERPOL:
  • The General Secretariat provides a range of expertise and services to the member countries.
  • It manages 18 police databases with information on crimes and criminals (from names and fingerprints to stolen passports), accessible in real-time to countries.
  • It offers investigative support such as forensics, analysis, and assistance in locating fugitives around the world.
  • The expertise supports national efforts in combating crimes across three global areas including terrorism, cybercrime and organized crime.
  • Carry out research and developmentin international crime and trends.
  • The Interpol doesn’t have law enforcement powers such as arrest.When a member nation approaches it with a specific request backed with court orders, the Interpol sends it out to other countries. The information received is sent back to the country.


Different Types of INTERPOL Notices:

The Interpol facilitates information exchange, knowledge sharing and research between nations by issuingcolour-coded ‘notices’ in four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Arabic.

Red Notice: It is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. It is issued by the General Secretariat at the request of a member country or an international tribunal based on a valid national arrest warrant. However, the arrest of the fugitive is based on the rule of the member nation where he or she is located.
Yellow Notice: It is issued to help locate missing persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves. This is highly useful in cases of human trafficking or in case of missing persons due to calamities.
Blue Notice: It is issued to collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime. This does not guarantee extradition or arrest of the person.
Black Notice: It is a request to seek information on unidentified bodies in member nations.


Green Notice: It is issued to provide warnings and intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offences and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries.
Orange Notice: It is issued to provide warnings about an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.
Purple Notice: It is a request to seek or provide information on the modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.


  • INTERPOL has warned member countries that cybercriminals were attempting to target hospitals and institutions on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 with ransomware.
  • In an alert sent to 194 nations, including India, Interpol said organisations at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak had also become targets of ransomware attacks, which were designed to lock them out of their critical systems in an attempt to extort payments.
  • The agency’s Cybercrime Threat Response Team had detected an increase in the number of attempted ransomware attacks against key organisations and infrastructure engaged in the virus response.
  • Interpol also issued a ‘Purple Notice’. It is issued to seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.