International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) is the world’s largest international police organization.
The International Criminal Police Organization commonly known as Interpol is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation andcrime control.
It was set up in 1923, as a secure information-sharing platform that facilitates criminal investigation of police forces across the globe through collection and dissemination of information received from various police forces.
It comprises of 195 member nations, including India.
It is headquartered in Lyon, France.
It keeps track of the movements of criminals and those under the police radar in various regions and tips off police forces which had either sought the Interpol’s assistance or which in its opinion will benefit from the particulars available with it.
It aims to promote the widest-possible mutual assistance between criminal police forces.
The head of Interpol is the President who is elected by the General Assembly. He comes from one of the member-nations and holds office for four years.
The day-to-day activities are overseen by a full-time Secretary General also elected by the General Assembly.
The General Assembly lays down the policy for execution by its Secretariat which has several specialised directorates for cybercrime, terrorism, drug trafficking, financial crime, environmental crime, human trafficking, etc. Every member-country is the Interpol’s face in that country.
Coordination among member countries: All contact of a country’s law enforcement agency with Interpol is through the highest investigating body of the land.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)assumes this role in India with one of its senior officers heading its exclusive Interwing (the National Central Bureaus) for collation of information and liaison with the world body.
Role of Interpol
It provides investigative support, expertise, and training to law enforcement agencies worldwide, focusing on three major areas of transnational crime: terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime.
Its broad mandate covers virtually every kind of crime, including crimes against humanity, child pornography, drug trafficking and production, political corruption, intellectual property infringement, and white-collar crime.
The agency also facilitates cooperation among national law enforcement institutions through criminal databases and communications networks.
The Interpol basically connects police across the world even if these individual member nations do not have diplomatic relations.
The Interpol facilitates information exchange, knowledge sharing and research between nations.
This is done by issuing colour-coded ‘notices’ in four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Arabic.
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.
Its notices are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.
Notices are issued by the General Secretariat at the request of a member country’s INTERPOL National Central Bureau and are made available for all our member countries to consult in our Notices database.
Notices can also be used by the United Nations, International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court to seek persons wanted for committing crimes within their jurisdiction, notably genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
India & Interpol
India has been a member since 1956.
Like any member nation, India maintains a National Central Bureau which serves as the national platform for cooperation between domestic law enforcement units and the international police community.
The NCB (functions under the CBI) is the designated contact point for the Interpol.
India has collaborated with the Interpol in tackling a myriad of organised crimes such as poaching, wildlife trafficking, spurious drugs and fake medicine rackets, among others.
According to the Interpol website, Red Corner Notices have been issued to 279* persons on requests from Indian law enforcement agencies, including 200 Indian citizens. They include gangster Dawood Ibrahim and some Khalistan separatists.
Recently, India requested Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice against Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on terror charges.
Interpol rejected the request stating that Indian authorities failed to provide sufficient information to support their case & expressed concerns about UAPA.
What are Interpol’s Future Challenges?
The rising spectre of transnational, cyber and organised crime requires a globally coordinated law enforcement response.
Interpol has a legacy of trust and reliability. It needs to acquire powers of sanction against a country which refuses to cooperate in implementing a red notice. It is however highly unlikely that member-nations will ever agree to dilute their sovereignty and invest the Interpol with such authority.