2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Law

International Criminal Police Organization
Common name Interpol
Abbreviation ICPO
Logo of the International Criminal Police Organization.
Agency Overview
Formed 1923
Legal personality Governmental agency
Jurisdictional Structure
International agency
Countries 186 member states
Governing body Interpol General Assembly
Constituting instrument ICPO-INTERPOL Constitution and General Regulations
General nature
  • Civilian agency
Operational Structure
Headquarters 200, quai Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, France
Multinational agency
Nationalities of personnel Various
Agency executives
  • Flag of Chile Arturo Herrera Verdugo, President (acting)
  • Flag of the United States Ronald Noble, Secretary General
National Central Bureaus 186
Interpol (Earth)
Location of Interpol headquarters in Lyon

The International Criminal Police Organization, better known by its telegraphic address Interpol, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation. It was established as the International Criminal Police Commission in 1923 and adopted its telegraphic address as its name in 1956. It should not be confused with the International Police, which takes on an active uniformed role in policing war-torn countries.

Its membership of 186 countries provides finance of around US$59 million through annual contributions. (By comparison, Europol receives $90 million annually.) The organization's headquarters are in Lyon, France.

Its current Secretary-General is Ronald Noble, formerly of the United States Treasury. Noble is the first non-European to hold the position of Secretary-General. Jackie Selebi, National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, was president from 2004 but resigned on January 13, later being charged in South Africa on three counts of corruption and one of defeating the course of justice. He was replaced by Arturo Herrera Verdugo, current National Commissioner of Policía de Investigaciones de Chile and former Vicepresident for the American Zone, who will remain acting president until the next organization meeting, in October 2008.

In order to maintain as politically neutral a role as possible, Interpol's constitution forbids its involvement in crimes that do not overlap several member countries, or in any political, military, religious, or racial crimes. Its work focuses primarily on public safety, terrorism, organized crime, war crimes, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime, intellectual property crime and corruption.

In 2005, the Interpol General Secretariat employed a staff of 502, representing 78 member countries. Women comprised 42 percent of the staff. The Interpol public website received an average of 2.2 million page visits every month. Interpol's red notices that year led to the arrests of 3,500 people.


Interpol was founded in Austria in 1923 as the International Criminal Police (ICP). Following the Anschluss (Austria's annexation by Nazi Germany) in 1938, the organization fell under the control of Nazi Germany and the Commission's headquarters were eventually moved to Berlin in 1942. It is unclear, however, if and to what extent the ICPC files were used to further the goals of the Nazi regime.

After the end of World War II in 1945, the organization was revived, as the International Criminal Police Organization, by European Allies of World War II officials from Belgium, France, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. Its new headquarters were established in Saint-Cloud, a town on the outskirts of Paris. They remained there until 1989, when they were moved to their present location, Lyon.


Each member country maintains a National Central Bureau (NCB) staffed by national law enforcement officers. The NCB is the designated contact point for the Interpol General Secretariat, regional bureaus and other member countries requiring assistance with overseas investigations and the location and apprehension of fugitives. This is especially important in countries which have many law-enforcement agencies: this central bureau is a unique point of contact for foreign entities, which may not understand the complexity of the law-enforcement system of the country they attempt to contact. For instance, the NCB for the United States of America is housed at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The NCB will then ensure the proper transmission of information to the correct agency.

Interpol maintains a large database charting unsolved crimes and both convicted and alleged criminals. At any time, a member nation has access to specific sections of the database and its police forces are encouraged to check information held by Interpol whenever a major crime is committed. The rationale behind this is that drug traffickers and similar criminals have international ties, and so it is likely that crimes will extend beyond political boundaries.

In 2002, Interpol began maintaining a database of lost and stolen identification and travel documents, allowing member countries to be alerted to the true nature of such documents when presented. Passport fraud, for example, is often performed by altering a stolen passport; in response, several member countries have worked to make online queries into the stolen document database part of their standard operating procedure in border control departments. As of early 2006, the database contained over ten million identification items reported lost or stolen, and is expected to grow more as more countries join the list of those reporting into the database.

A member nation's police force can contact one or more member nations by sending a message relayed through Interpol offices.

Member states and sub-bureaus

Sub-bureaus shown in italics.

Flag of Afghanistan Afghanistan
Flag of Albania Albania
Flag of Algeria Algeria
Flag of American Samoa American Samoa
Flag of Andorra Andorra
Flag of Angola Angola
Flag of Anguilla Anguilla
Flag of Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda
Flag of Argentina Argentina
Flag of Armenia Armenia
Flag of Aruba Aruba
Flag of Australia Australia
Flag of Austria Austria
Flag of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
Flag of the Bahamas Bahamas
Flag of Bahrain Bahrain
Flag of Bangladesh Bangladesh
Flag of Barbados Barbados
Flag of Belarus Belarus
Flag of Belgium Belgium
Flag of Belize Belize
Flag of Benin Benin
Flag of Bermuda Bermuda
Flag of Bhutan Bhutan
Flag of Bolivia Bolivia
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
Flag of Botswana Botswana
Flag of Brazil Brazil
Flag of the British Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands
Flag of Brunei Brunei
Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria
Flag of Burkina Faso Burkina Faso
Flag of Burundi Burundi
Flag of Cambodia Cambodia
Flag of Cameroon Cameroon
Flag of Canada Canada
Flag of Cape Verde Cape Verde
Flag of Cayman Islands Cayman Islands
Flag of the Central African Republic Central African Republic
Flag of Chad Chad
Flag of Chile Chile
Flag of the People's Republic of China People's Republic of China
Flag of Colombia Colombia
Flag of the Comoros Comoros
Flag of the Republic of the Congo Republic of the Congo
Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Congo (Democratic Rep.)
Flag of Costa Rica Costa Rica
Flag of Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire
Flag of Croatia Croatia
Flag of Cuba Cuba

Flag of Cyprus Cyprus
Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic
Flag of Denmark Denmark
Flag of Djibouti Djibouti
Flag of Dominica Dominica
Flag of the Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
Flag of East Timor East Timor
Flag of Ecuador Ecuador
Flag of Egypt Egypt
Flag of El Salvador El Salvador
Flag of Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea
Flag of Eritrea Eritrea
Flag of Estonia Estonia
Flag of Ethiopia Ethiopia
Flag of Fiji Fiji
Flag of Finland Finland
Flag of the Republic of Macedonia FYR Macedonia
Flag of France France
Flag of Gabon Gabon
Flag of The Gambia Gambia
Flag of Georgia (country) Georgia
Flag of Germany Germany
Flag of Ghana Ghana
Flag of Gibraltar Gibraltar
Flag of Greece Greece
Flag of Grenada Grenada
Flag of Guatemala Guatemala
Flag of Guinea Guinea
Flag of Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau
Flag of Guyana Guyana
Flag of Haiti Haiti
Flag of Honduras Honduras
Flag of Hong Kong Hong Kong
Flag of Hungary Hungary
Flag of Iceland Iceland
Flag of India India
Flag of Indonesia Indonesia
Flag of Iran Iran
Flag of Iraq Iraq
Flag of Ireland Ireland
Flag of Israel Israel
Flag of Italy Italy
Flag of Jamaica Jamaica
Flag of Japan Japan
Flag of Jordan Jordan
Flag of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
Flag of Kenya Kenya
Flag of South Korea Republic of Korea
Flag of Kuwait Kuwait
Flag of Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan
Flag of Laos Laos

Flag of Latvia Latvia
Flag of Lebanon Lebanon
Flag of Lesotho Lesotho
Flag of Liberia Liberia
Flag of Libya Libya
Flag of Liechtenstein Liechtenstein
Flag of Lithuania Lithuania
Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg
Flag of Macau Macau
Flag of Madagascar Madagascar
Flag of Malawi Malawi
Flag of Malaysia Malaysia
Flag of the Maldives Maldives
Flag of Mali Mali
Flag of Malta Malta
Flag of the Marshall Islands Marshall Islands
Flag of Mauritania Mauritania
Flag of Mauritius Mauritius
Flag of Mexico Mexico
Flag of Moldova Moldova
Flag of Monaco Monaco
Flag of Mongolia Mongolia
Flag of Montenegro Montenegro
Flag of Montserrat Montserrat
Flag of Morocco Morocco
Flag of Mozambique Mozambique
Flag of Burma Myanmar
Flag of Namibia Namibia
Flag of Nauru Nauru
Flag of Nepal Nepal
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands
Flag of the Netherlands Antilles Netherlands Antilles
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand
Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua
Flag of Niger Niger
Flag of Nigeria Nigeria
Flag of Norway Norway
Flag of Oman Oman
Flag of Pakistan Pakistan
Flag of Panama Panama
Flag of Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea
Flag of Paraguay Paraguay
Flag of Peru Peru
Flag of the Philippines Philippines
Flag of Poland Poland
Flag of Portugal Portugal
Flag of Puerto Rico Puerto Rico
Flag of Qatar Qatar
Flag of Romania Romania

Flag of Russia Russia
Flag of Rwanda Rwanda
Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis St. Kitts and Nevis
Flag of Saint Lucia St. Lucia
Flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Flag of São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe
Flag of Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
Flag of San Marino San Marino
Flag of Senegal Senegal
Flag of Serbia Serbia
Flag of the Seychelles Seychelles
Flag of Sierra Leone Sierra Leone
Flag of Singapore Singapore
Flag of Slovakia Slovakia
Flag of Slovenia Slovenia
Flag of Somalia Somalia
Flag of South Africa South Africa
Flag of Spain Spain
Flag of Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Flag of Sudan Sudan
Flag of Suriname Suriname
Flag of Swaziland Swaziland
Flag of Sweden Sweden
Flag of Switzerland Switzerland
Flag of Syria Syria
Flag of Tajikistan Tajikistan
Flag of Tanzania Tanzania
Flag of Thailand Thailand
Flag of Togo Togo
Flag of Tonga Tonga
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago
Flag of Tunisia Tunisia
Flag of Turkey Turkey
Flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands Turks and Caicos
Flag of Turkmenistan Turkmenistan
Flag of Uganda Uganda
Flag of Ukraine Ukraine
Flag of the United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
Flag of the United States United States
Flag of Uruguay Uruguay
Flag of Uzbekistan Uzbekistan
Flag of Venezuela Venezuela
Flag of Vietnam Vietnam
Flag of Yemen Yemen
Flag of Zambia Zambia
Flag of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe

Non-member countries

Flag of Samoa Samoa
Flag of Palau Palau
Flag of the Solomon Islands Solomon Islands

Flag of Kiribati Kiribati
Flag of the Federated States of Micronesia Federated States of Micronesia
Flag of Tuvalu Tuvalu
Flag of Vanuatu Vanuatu

Flag of North Korea North Korea
Flag of the Vatican City Vatican City

Secretaries-general and presidents

Secretaries-general since organization's inception in 1923:

Flag of Austria Oskar Dressler to 1946
Flag of France Louis Ducloux to 1951
Flag of France Marcel Sicot to 1963
Flag of France Jean Népote to 1978
Flag of France André Bossard to 1985
Flag of the United Kingdom Raymond Kendall to 2000
Flag of the United States Ronald Noble since 2000

Presidents since organization's inception in 1923:

Flag of Austria Johann Schober to 1932
Flag of Austria Franz Brandl to 1934
Flag of Austria Eugen Seydel to 1935
Flag of Austria Michael Skubl to 1938
Flag of Nazi Germany Otto Steinhäusl to 1940
Flag of Nazi Germany Reinhard Heydrich to 1942
Flag of Nazi Germany Artur Nebe to 1943
Flag of Nazi Germany Ernst Kaltenbrunner to 1945
Flag of Belgium Florent Louwage to 1956
Flag of Portugal Agostinho Lourenço to 1960
Flag of the United Kingdom Richard Jackson to 1963
Flag of Finland Fjalar Jarva to 1964
Flag of Belgium Firmin Franssen to 1968
Flag of West Germany Paul Dickopf to 1972
Flag of Canada William Leonard Higgitt to 1976
Flag of Sweden Carl Persson to 1980
Flag of the Philippines Jolly Bugarin to 1984
Flag of the United States John Simpson to 1988
Flag of France Ivan Barbot to 1992
Flag of Canada Norman Inkster to 1994
Flag of Sweden Björn Eriksson to 1996
Flag of Japan Toshinori Kanemoto to 2000
Flag of Spain Jesús Espigares Mira to 2004
Flag of South Africa Jackie Selebi to 2008
Flag of Chile Arturo Herrera Verdugo acting president until the General Assembly in Sankt Petersburg in October 2008, and candidate for the President on that General Assembly
In some works of fiction, Interpol officers are seen conducting investigations in member countries. However, this is a highly fictionalized version of the operations of Interpol. Its main role is the passing on of information, not actual law enforcement.

Many television programs, films, and other media have featured Interpol agents, either in a fictionalized form or more true-to-life.



  • Richard Wyler played the title role of the Man From Interpol 1958-59 British TV series that was shown on NBC in 1960.
  • Inspector Gadget is an agent of Interpol.
  • In the show Sealab 2021 Quin calls Interpol to find information on a fraudster named Master Lu.
  • In the 2007 season of LOST, an Interpol report is seen when it is discovered that is has been filed against one of the main characters.
  • In the anime Azumanga Daioh, the character Tomo Takino wants to be an Interpol agent in the future.
  • In the show Batman Beyond which takes place in the mid-21st century, Interpol is mentioned in reference to its criminal database.
  • The Goon Show made a few references to Interpol throughout its run in the 1950s.
  • Department S was a British TV series about a fictional Special investigation department of Interpol.
  • In Psych Shawn Spencer pretends to be an Interpol agent.
  • In the anime One Piece exist an association Named Cipher Pol.
  • The logo of the Terran Empire within Star Trek's Mirror Universe resembles that used by Interpol.


  • In the comedy film Johnny English, it is eventually revealed that Lorna Campbell ( Natalie Imbruglia) is an Interpol agent spying on Pascal Sauvage.
  • In the movie Lord of War, Jack Valentine ( Ethan Hawke) is an Interpol officer.
  • In the movie Mission: Impossible III, Ethan Hunt ( Tom Cruise) is told he is on Interpol's Most Wanted list.
  • In the Indian movie Don starring Shah Rukh Khan, the Interpol is trying to capture Don.
  • The protagonists in the film The Medallion are agents of Interpol.
  • In the movie Assassins an interpol agent is shot by Antonio Banderas
  • In the movie Hitman (2007), Agent 47 is chased by two Interpol agents.
  • In the movie "Eye of the Beholder" Ewan McGergor works for Interpol


  • In the book and movie The Da Vinci Code, Interpol is mentioned several times, mainly in reference to their extensive database of information.
  • In the book Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident one of the antagonists notes to his companions that the protagonist, Artemis Fowl, has an Interpol file.
  • In the novels of Chris Kuzneski, Nick Dial is the director of the fictitious homicide division of Interpol. Dial made his first appearance in Sign of the Cross and was also featured in Sword of God and The Lost Throne.


  • In Capcom's Street Fighter video game franchise (and many of its adaptations to other media), Chun-Li is an agent of Interpol.
  • In the original Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? game from 1985, the user worked for Interpol. Later Carmen Sandiego media instead featured the fictional Interpol-esque ACME Detective Agency.
  • In the game Resident Evil: Code Veronica X, Chris Redfield from S.T.A.R.S. is working with an Interpol officer before he turns to Anti Umbrella Activism.
  • Bryan Fury in Tekken 3 had been an American Interpol officer before he was turned to a cyborg after being shot by gunmen in a shootout in Hong Kong. Likewise, Lei Wulong is a Hong Kong Interpol officer.
  • In the game Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, one of the victims in a case that protagonist Apollo Justice is faced against is an Interpol officer.
  • In Vigilante 8: Second Offense Agent Chase works for CHRONOPOL, an Interpol for time.
  • In the Sly Cooper series, Carmelita Fox and a few other characters are Interpol officers.
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