The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) or (ICPO) is the largest police organization in the world including 195 countries. Its official languages are Spanish, English, Arabic and French.
It aims at facilitating international cooperation among police agencies all over the world and enabling countries to share and access data on crimes and criminals through secure communication channels, even in the absence of some inter-countries diplomatic relations. It is also concerned with preventing and combating crime by promoting cooperation and innovation in police and security fields, as well as providing specialized training for officers and investigators.
The vision of INTERPOL is to create a law-abiding world through required communication among various global police agencies. This is to keep pace with the evolution of crime, which in part has become transboundary. Salient crimes currently addressed by ICPO are: criminal organizations, drugs, advanced technology-related financial criminalities, public security disruption, terrorism, human trafficking, and fugitive pursuit.
The INTERPOL’s Constitution prohibits any movement or activity that has a “political, military, religious or racial nature”. Its priorities and goals are set out every 3 years.
The INTERPOL General Secretariat coordinates the daily crime-fighting activities and is headed by the Secretary General. The Secretariat is staffed by police officers and civilians, and its headquarters is in Lyon, France. It has a Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore and several sub-offices all over the world.
In each country, INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB-Interpol) serves as the primary focal point of contact for the General Secretariat and other NCBs. National Police officers run the NCB-Interpol which is usually affiliated to the ministerial government responsible for policing.
The General Assembly is the supreme governing body that brings all countries together annually to make decisions.
Origin and Development
In 1914, the first international police conference was held in Monaco, France. Officers, jurists and judges from 24 countries met to discuss procedures of investigation and arrest, and document records of international criminals and legal procedures governing their extradition.
The INTERPOL has changed over time into an internationally acknowledged independent organization, incorporating internal institutions and regional offices. It aims at supporting police agencies all over the world and providing information and training to pursue criminals, in an era when crime has become transboundary.
The Organization gives its president an honorary role, while the Secretary-General takes over the business. The German Jürgen Stock was currently chosen and appointed to a second 5 year-term in 2019.
In 1923, according to the initiative of Johannes Schober, Chief of Vienna Police, the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) was established under his chairmanship. Vienna was chosen its headquarters, and the first international wanted notices were issued.
The countries that participated in the 1923 Conference are: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States of America and Yugoslavia.
In 1926, The General Assembly in Berlin took the initiative to invite member states to establish communication offices within them, followed by a decree in the subsequent year to establish NCBs.
In 1930, specialized offices and departments were established to follow up major cases such as forging passports and currencies, and documenting criminal records.
In 1932, following Schober’s death, a special system for the position of Secretary General was introduced. The Austrian Police Commissioner, Oskar Dressler, was the first INTERPOL Secretary General.
In 1935, the Organization launched a network for secure international wireless communications.
In 1938, the Organization witnessed a qualitative transformation as the Nazis took control. Hence, many countries ceased participating in its activities, and it witnessed a period of latency.
In 1942, the Organization headquarters was relocated to Berlin.
In 1945, By the end of World War II, Belgium led efforts to rebuild the Organization. Paris was chosen its headquarters, and “INTERPOL” became its Acronym for the first time.
In 1949, the United Nations granted the INTERPOL a consultative status.
In 1956, the name of the Organization has been changed to become the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO), instead of the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC). A new Constitution was adopted to regulate the work as an independent institution receiving funds and investments from member countries.
In 1971, the United Nations recognized INTERPOL as an international organization.
In 1989, the headquarters of INTERPOL General Secretariat has been relocated to Lyon, France.
In 2003, the Command and Coordination Center (CCC) was opened at the headquarters of the INTERPOL General Secretariat. This enabled the INTERPOL to continue uninterrupted.
In 2004, the INTERPOL Liaison Office was opened at the United Nations headquarters in New York, and its first special representative was appointed.
In 2009, the office of the INTERPOL official representative in the European Union was opened in Brussels.
In October 2018, the French authorities opened an investigation reporting the disappearance of the Chinese Meng Hongwei, the President of the INTERPOL, after his arrival to his country, then Hongwei submitted a sudden resignation. The authorities in China accused him of corruption and the presidency of the organization remained vacant.
In November 2018, the General Assembly held a meeting in Dubai to elect a president for the organization to succeed Hongwei from two candidates; the South Korean president, Kim Jong Yang, and the Russian Alexander Prokopchuk. Kim Jong Yang won the presidency for two years.
In 2019, Major General Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, former Inspector General of the UAE Ministry of Interior, was elected president of the INTERPOL, during its eighty-ninth meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. His election has commensurate with an international campaign against him organized by Arab and world bodies accusing him of acts of violence. It is worth noting that the presidency of the INTERPOL is an honorary role, while the General Secretary, Jürgen Stock, is currently in charge.
When INTERPOL re-established itself after World War II in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Cloud in 1946, the system of International INTERPOL Notices was created.
It is an international alert distributed by INTERPOL to report information about crimes, criminals and threats by the police in member states (or certified international entity) to their worldwide counterparts.
Information disseminated via the notices tackle individuals wanted for serious crimes, missing persons, unidentified corpses, potential threats, prison escapes, and the modus operandi of criminals.
There are 8 types of notices; 7 of which are color-coded according to their function: red, blue, green, yellow, black, orange and purple.
The red refers to place request, detention of a person wanted by a judicial authority or an international court concerning his/her extradition. It is the most well-known notice and is the closest instrument to the international arrest warrant.
The blue refers to locating or obtaining information about a person of interest in a criminal investigation.
The green represents alert of a criminal’s activities in case that he is considered a potential threat to public safety.
The yellow refers to locating a missing person or recognizing someone unable to identify oneself.
The black refers to collecting information about unidentified bodies.
The orange was added in 2004 to express alert of an event, person, thing or process that represent an imminent threat or danger to people or property.
Purple refers to providing information about modus operandi, procedures, objects, devices or havens of criminals.
In 2005, the (Eighth) INTERPOL-United Nations Security Council Special Notice was operated at the request of the latter via Resolution 1617 to provide better tools to assist the Council in implementing its mandate regarding freezing assets, travel bans, arms embargoes, targeting individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Cairo Interpol Office
Egypt is considered one of the first countries in the world to join INTERPOL in 1923. On February 22, 1958, Syria and Egypt, who enjoyed full membership in INTERPOL, united and formed the United Arab Republic which was dissolved on September 28, 1961. Egypt kept that name until September 2, 1971, when it changed its name to the Arab Republic of Egypt. Egypt is considered a continuation of the United Arab Republic as a member of INTERPOL.
According to the INTERPOL’s regulations, every INTERPOL-member country has an NCB, including officers and employees affiliated to their departments. The Egyptian NCB – the International and Arab Criminal Police Department “Cairo’s INTERPOL” is one of the departments of the Public Security sector.
Egypt NCB-INTERPOL exerts its effort to receive and forward requests from various countries pursuing fugitive and wanted criminals inside the country.
It also follows up trial procedures for those who have Egyptian nationality, until the announcement of judgments; in addition to extradition decisions for those who do not have Egyptian nationality delivered to the requesting countries, and take executive procedures until the completion of the extradition.
Moreover, it carries out legal procedures to pursue the wanted persons, whether Egyptians or having other nationalities, and those against whom judicial rulings were issued by Egyptian judiciary, or orders to arrest and bring them before the Egyptian investigation authorities.
Furthermore, it coordinates with other NCBs to seize them until they are brought to the country.
On the international level, Cairo’s INTERPOL usually publishes about: “wanted fugitives, unidentified bodies, absent and missing persons, stolen vehicles, stolen and lost weapons, stolen antiquities and artifacts, as well as stolen and lost passports.”
Cairo’s INTERPOL participates in the membership of the Good Offices Committee to amicably solve the problems arising from mixed marriages.
It is held periodically at the premises of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs where delegates of the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Foreign Affairs participate to try to peacefully solve problems resulting from mixed marriages; taking into account the interests of children.
INTERPOL assists in the implementation of personal status provisions such as those of Alimony and annexation, taking into account the human and social dimension of these provisions.
Source: State Information Service Egypt