INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 186 member countries. Created in 1923, it facilitates cross-border police co-operation, and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime.
INTERPOL aims to facilitate international police co-operation even where diplomatic relations do not exist between particular countries. Action is taken within the limits of existing laws in different countries and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. INTERPOL’s constitution prohibits ‘any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.’
The President of INTERPOL and the Secretary General work closely together in providing strong leadership and direction to the Organization.
As defined in Article 5 of its Constitution, INTERPOL (whose correct full name is 'The International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL’) comprises the following:
- General Assembly
- Executive Committee
- General Secretariat
- National Central Bureaus
The General Assembly and the Executive Committee form the organization’s Governance.
General Assembly - INTERPOL’s supreme governing body, it meets annually and comprises delegates appointed by each member country. The assembly takes all important decisions related to policy, resources, working methods, finances, activities and programmes.
Executive Committee – this 13-member committee is elected by the General Assembly, and comprises the president, three vice-presidents and nine delegates covering the four regions.
General Secretariat - located in Lyon, France, the General Secretariat operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is run by the Secretary General. Officials from more than 80 countries work side-by-side in any of the organization’s four official languages: Arabic, English, French and Spanish. The Secretariat has six Sub-Regional Bureaus; in Argentina, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Kenya, Thailand and Zimbabwe, and a liaison office at the United Nations in New York.
National Central Bureaus (NCB) - Each INTERPOL member country maintains a National Central Bureau staffed by national law enforcement officers. The NCB is the designated contact point for the General Secretariat, regional offices and other member countries requiring assistance with overseas investigations and the location and apprehension of fugitives.
Advisers – these are experts in a purely advisory capacity, who may be appointed by the Executive Committee and confirmed by the General Assembly.