Interpol Definition

Cite this article as:"Interpol Definition," in The Business Professor, updated March 22, 2019, last accessed October 29, 2020,


International Police Organization (Interpol) Definition

Interpol stands for International Police Organization. The commision facilitates various international police cooperation. It was referred to as the International Criminal Police Commission until 1956 when it changed its name to Interpol.

A Little More on What is International Police Organization Interpol

Membership of Interpol is comprised of police forces from 194 countries. Most of Interpolā€™s budget is funded by contributions from its member countries. Interpol had 756 employees representing 100 member countries by the end of 2013. Interpol is headed by Kim Jong Yang, a South Korean National, he took over from Meng Hongwei of China.

Interpol is not allowed to engage in political, military, religious or any activity that may be seen to be political, military, religious, racial, or involving the agency. Interpolā€™s main tasks include focusing on public safety and tackling transnational crimes against humanity such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, genocides, war crimes, money laundering and many other crimes against humanity.


Article 2 clearly defines Interpolā€™s role; ā€œTo 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 the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsā€. Sub article two; ā€œTo establish and develop all institutions likely to contribute effectively to the prevention and suppression of ordinary law crimesā€.

Article 3 stresses the importance of neutrality when dispatching its duties. It states that ā€˜It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.ā€™


Interpol depends highly on the local law enforcement agencies, as it does not have jurisdiction to make arrests. It must work with local authorities to make arrest. It does this primarily by providing intelligence to the local enforcement agencies of member countries.

InterPol serves to break down the language barriers and bureaucracy that hinders law enforcement across countries. All members nations have representatives within InterPol, thus paving the way for better cooperation. Take for instance a case where the FBI wanted a criminal believed to be in Italy; they will not just go into Italy and arrest since it will contravene Italyā€™s jurisdiction. The FBI will have to contact Interpol National Central Bureau Italy. The Interpol agent in Italy will act as a liaison between Italian law enforcement agency and the FBI.

The agency will collect fingerprints, face photos, DNA samples, list of wanted criminals and travel documents using authorized means. Unlike the local law enforcement agencies, Interpol has data from all over the world.. Highly trained agents will analyze this information before handing over information that can be helpful to member countries. Over time Interpol has lost more than 12 million records through what is believed to be theft.

Apart from the National Central Bureau, some member countries have allowed Intrerpol to access its Airports and border access points. The mode of communication used by Interpol and local enforcement agencies is referred to as I-24/7. It is encrypted and it uses the internet to pass information. Also, member countries have allowed each otherā€™s access to a criminal database via the I-24/7 system. As of 2013, Interpol had given a total of 52, 880 valid notices.

IRT is a unit that is an Interpol unit that specializes on emergency response such as terrorism, international disasters or a high-value assassination. Upon request from local enforcement agencies IRT offers services such as database access which will assist suspect identification. Interpol will also disseminate information to other member countries which will help in avoiding such disasters. Ā In some cases IRT takes over as a central command unit for the case at hand. To improve the response of these unit member countries allowed Interpol to issue travel documents to its agents in 2009. In 2013 alone, IRT was deployed eight times. Palestine and Solomon Island were voted in to join Interpol on September 2017.


As stated earlier in this article, most of Interpolā€™s budget is funded by contributions from member countries and a small percentage came from other sources. The total operating income in 2013 was ā‚¬78 million. Although this foundation is independent of Interpol, the two work very close to each other. Interpolā€™s have used several internal auditors including the French Court of Audit in 2010 and Office of the Auditor General of Norway.

References for Interpol

International Police Organization (Interpol)

  • Designing police: Interpol and the study of change in international organizations, Barnett, M., & Coleman, L. (2005). International Studies Quarterly, 49(4), 593-619. This article looks at six strategies manipulation, defiance, avoidance, acquiescence and compromise. It also gives an opinion that the strategic choice of IOs is contingent on organizational security and congruence. It shows how IOs can balance between acquiring resources necessary for survival and being secure as they maintain autonomy.
  • The international anti-anarchist conference of 1898 and the origins of Interpol, Jensen, R. B. (1981). The international anti-anarchist conference of 1898 and the origins of Interpol. Journal of Contemporary History, 16(2), 323-347. The article looks at the International anti-anarchist conference that took place in 1898. It also looks at the origin of Interpol.
  • INTERPOL DVI best-practice standardsā€”An overview, OC, D. S. (2010). Forensic science international, 201(1-3), 18-21. The article describes the International Criminal Police Organization. It also illustrates the role of Interpol in identifying disaster victims. The Interpol learned many lessons from the SE Asia tsunami in 2005. Interpol has adopted a modern approach and philosophy to DVI.
  • Comparing crime rates: the international crime (Victim) survey, the European Sourcebook of crime and criminal justice statistics, and Interpol statistics, Aebi, M. F., Killias, M., & Tavares, C. (2002). International Journal of Comparative Criminology, 2(1), 22-37. The author of this article found that the International Crime Survey is related to the European Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics in a similar offense. Ā Ā Interpol data, on the other hand, are weakly correlated with Sourcebook and ICVS. For a long time, comparative criminology has had a lot of discrepancies mainly because of the lack of international criminal data. The article looks at several efforts that have been made to improve ways of sharing data on criminals internationally. One thing that is argued to increase the validity of Sourcebook project is the comparative validity of police data which is thought to eliminate devastating errors. In offenses where the police statement is uncertain or inconsistent survey date may remain the most valid for cross-section analysis.
  • The accountability of transnational policing institutions: The strange case of Interpol, Sheptycki, J. (2004). Canadian Journal of Law & Society/La Revue Canadienne Droit et SociĆ©tĆ©, 19(1), 107-134. Accountability is an important factor for any public facility. Ā A question of who the Interpol is accountable to is a question many people ask. Across the world, this unit is the most recognized international police unit. In developed countries, all police units have legally defined measures that ensure that they are accountable to all their actions. The law is not clear on how most international agencies like the Interpol will remain accountable; however, they are guided by the laws of sovereignly bound nations. The article looks at modus operandi, a narrative that the Interpolā€™s activities can potentially become hot political contestation between member countries. It tries to illustrate the accountability framework of the Interpol by looking at the historically questionable status of Intergovernmental Organization. It goes ahead to illustrate. Interpolā€™s accountability can be understood by understanding Formal and Informal, internal and external accountability mechanism. Finally, it is vital for international agencies to come up and maintain constitutional accountability issues.
  • Policing Western Europe: Interpol, Trevi and Europol, Fijnaut, C. (1992). Police Stud.: Int’l Rev. Police Dev., 15, 101. The article looks at the Interpol activities in Western Europe. It is part of the NCJRS. To get more information go to Virtual Library. Learn how to obtain the document from an online page via various platforms such as via mail, local libraries or interlibrary loans.
  • Sharing Criminal Records: The United States, the European Union, and Interpol Compared, Jacobs, J. B., & Blitsa, D. (2008). Loy. LA Int’l & Comp. L. Rev., 30, 125. This article looks at how various nations share criminal records. It looks at the case of The United States, The European Union, and Interpol.
  • INTERPOL survey of the use of speaker identification by law enforcement agencies, Morrison, G. S., Sahito, F. H., Jardine, G., Djokic, D., Clavet, S., Berghs, S., & Dorny, C. G. (2016). Forensic science international, 263, 92-100. Here the author scrutinizes a survey on speaker identification conducted in some of Interpolā€™s member countries. The survey used questionnaires to collect data. The survey was intended for all member countries, however, only 91 of these countries responded. Of all the participants, 44 use speaker identification in their countries. Half of those countries which had speaker identification were from Europe. Twenty-eight states responded that they had audio recordings in their database. Ā The US, used speaker identification method is the auditory-acoustic-phonetic approach. Europe on the other hand mostly uses the auditory-acoustic-phonetic approach. Ā The rest of the continent mostly uses the spectrographic/auditory-spectrographic approach.
  • International police cooperation against terrorism: Interpol and Europol in comparison, Deflem, M. (2007). Understanding and Responding to Terrorism, 19, 17. This article looks at the role of Interpol, Europol, the European Police Office and International Police Organization in suppressing terrorist activities. It illustrates some of the counter terrorism improvements made by most countries after September 2011. Police across the world have improved their counter-terrorism unit. The author of this article looks at how these international organization liars to fight terrorisms. Ā 
  • Global Administrative Law Meets Soft Powers: The Uncomfortable Case of Interpol Red Notices, Savino, M. (2010). NYUJ Int’l L. & Pol., 43, 263. Interpolā€™s main function is to issue ā€˜red noticeā€™ issues arrest warrant to criminal suspects through a unique communication network. The international organization is the second largest after the United Nations. The ā€˜red noticesā€™ are said to go against personal freedom law. The interpretation will depend on your understanding. Drafter of Global Administrative law seems to have done a better job in addressing.
  • Organization of Interpol, Fooner, M. (1989). In Interpol (pp. 89-113). Springer, Boston, MA. The author of this article looks at the drafters of policy in rectifying Interpolā€™s unusual structure. Interpolā€™s most common challenges include distribution of function and parochial domination. Finally, time and patience are the key issues in this organization when solving a problem.

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