One of the most difficult challenges today the world faces is increasing crime. There are several organisations made at the global level to tackle different problems, tackle crime and support others by providing information Interpol has made. INTERPOL is the shorter and more well-recognized name of the International Criminal Police Organization.
Setup in 1923, its main objective is to help police in all its member countries to work together to make the world a safer place. Back then in its early years, it was known as International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC). It changed its name to INTERPOL in 1956 at the 25th General Assembly in Vienna.
Interpol is an intergovernmental network of 195 member countries. The organisation enables police forces from various countries to share and access data on crimes and criminals and offers a range of technical and operational support. It is the world’s largest international organisation. The headquarters of Interpol is situated in Lyon, France. India joined as a member state in 1949, making itself one of the oldest members of the organisation.
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Interpol’s Global Policing
Launched in 2018 to focus on collective and organised efforts for International law enforcement.
It includes :
- Tackling terrorism
- Boosting border integrity worldwide
- Equipping secure cyberspace for people
- Restraining illicit markets
- Promoting mutual assistance between all police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries.
- Developing environmental security
- Advancing global integrity
Composition of Interpol
The General Secretariat regulates our day-to-day activities to fight a range of crimes. Secretary-General is the head of it. Both Police and civilians are a part of Interpol. In every country, Interpol is represented by the National Central Bureau (NCB). NCB serves as the key point of contact for the General Secretariat and other NCBs. NCB is managed by national police officials and usually sits in the government ministry responsible for policing.
Interpol’s General Assembly is the supreme governing body marking representatives from all its member countries. All the member countries meet annually to take decisions on resources, finance, activities, and policy. The head of Interpol is the President who is elected by the General Assembly and holds office for four years.
The annual meet-up usually lasts for four days to vote and discuss. The General Assembly is also charged with a duty to elect the members of the Interpol Executive Committee (13 members), the governing body that “provides guidance and direction in between sessions of the Assembly”. The Assembly’s decisions take the shape of Resolutions and each member nation has one vote.
The Operating Model of the Interpol
Interpol dives in with the cases of Child abusers, Murderers, Rapists, Traffickers, Drug dealers, and Cyber criminals. It dispenses assistance to law enforcement agencies.
The three key areas targeted by Interpol are:
1. Cyber crime – Interpol directs member countries to prevent and curb terrorist activities through the identification of individuals, networks and affiliates.
2. Organised and Emerging crime – Interpol is engaged in targeting and hindering international criminal networks; identifying, scrutinizing and answering criminal threats.
3. Counter-terrorism – The organisation plays a major role in ‘Making cyberspace safe for all by supporting member countries in the prevention and inspection of cyber attacks.
Interpol is a platform for connectivity and cooperation. All member countries are connected via a communication system called I-24/7. It has a global complex for innovation in Singapore. To ensure coordination and cooperation between different countries, it has several satellite offices in different regions.
The Interpol facilitates the process of information exchange, knowledge sharing and research between nations by issuing color-coded ‘notices’. The notices are of different colors serving different purposes as the Red notice is issued by the General Secretariat in form of a request to locate and provisionally arrest individual pending extradition, and the Yellow notice is issued to locate missing persons.
The notices are issued in four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Arabic.
Role and responsibilities of Interpol
1. The General Secretariat provides many expertise and services to the member countries.
2. It provides investigative support such as forensics, analysis, and assistance in locating fugitives around the world.
3. It handles 18 police databases with information on crimes and criminals (such as names, fingerprints and stolen passports), accessible in real-time to countries.
4. It mainly facilitates Police Data Management and administers research and development in international crime and trends.
Interpol in context with India
India joined as a member state in 1949. Like other member nations, India maintains a National Central Bureau (NCB) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) serves as a nodal body of the Interpol in India. India has collaborated with Interpol in tackling a large number of organised crimes such as poaching, wildlife trafficking, drug trafficking and fake rackets, etc.
In Oct 2022, The Interpol General Assembly meeting is taking place in India after a gap of about 25 years. It was last held in 1997 and this is the second time Interpol is holding a large conference of 195 member states. The 90th Interpol General Assembly has just concluded in New Delhi. In India, the NCB is looked after by the home ministry. Acting on India’s request the Interpol has issued a fresh red notice against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed for leading and directing anti-India activities from across the border.
From India, the Central Bureau of Investigation has joined Interpol’s International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) initiative that will permit it to collaborate with investigators in other countries for detecting child sexual abuse online and identifying abusers, victims, and crime scenes from clips using specialised software. The CBI of India got an opportunity to collaborate with Interpol through two recent operations. Operation MEGHA CHAKRA was against online material for Child Sexual abuse and Operation GARUD was against narcotics and drug dealing, producing, handling etc.
Interpol at work as a global platform
Crime rates are rising at a large scale internationally. To curb it, the need of the hour is cooperation and coordination.
As an International organisation, it provides a platform for cooperation; enables police to work directly with their counterparts, even between countries which do not have diplomatic relations.
All the decisions are taken within the limits of existing laws in different nations.
It represents the voice of police on the global stage through the use of its unique services.
Interpol’s international stop-payment mechanism (an anti-money laundering rapid response protocol) has helped the member countries recover more than $60 million(past 10 months). Interpol also releases Global Crime Trend Report which highlights the high increase in online child sexual exploitation and abuse, which is further only set to increase.
It also collaborated with Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The International Child Sexual Exploitation database of Interpol has helped investigators around the world in identifying an average of seven child abuse victims every day. Interpol had one of the biggest vault of information related to foreign terrorist hideouts, tools and actions.
The organisation provides information about crime and criminals in the digital space and the prevention of abuse of Cyberspace.
Until organisations like Interpol are at work, the world is a safer place and in safe hands. World needs active global organisations like Interpol which is extremely important for multilateralism. The organisation motivates the world to work together to prevent and fight crime and criminals.