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International Criminal Police Organization
Common name Interpol
Abbreviation ICPO
Interpol logo.png
Logo of the International Criminal Police Organization.
Agency overview
Formed 1923
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
International agency
Countries 186 member states
Governing body Interpol General Assembly
Constituting instrument ICPO-INTERPOL Constitution and General Regulations
General nature
  • Law enforcement
  • Civilian agency
Operational structure
Headquarters 200, quai Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, France
Multinational agency
Nationalities of personnel Various
Agency executives
  • Chile Arturo Herrera Verdugo, President (acting)
  • United States Ronald Noble, Secretary General
National Central Bureaus 186
Interpol is located in Earth
Location of Interpol headquarters in Lyon

The International Criminal Police Organization, better known by its telegraphic address Interpol, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation. It was established as the International Criminal Police Commission in 1923 and adopted its telegraphic address as its name in 1956. It should not be confused with the International Police, which takes on an active uniformed role in policing war-torn countries.

Its membership of 186 countries provides finance of around US$59 million through annual contributions. (By comparison, Europol receives $90 million annually.) The organization's headquarters are in Lyon, France.

Its current Secretary-General is Ronald Noble, formerly of the United States Treasury. Noble is the first non-European to hold the position of Secretary-General. Jackie Selebi, National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, was president from 2004 but resigned on January 13, later being charged in South Africa on three counts of corruption and one of defeating the course of justice. He was replaced by Arturo Herrera Verdugo, current National Commissioner of Policía de Investigaciones de Chile and former Vicepresident for the American Zone, who will remain acting president until the next organization meeting, in October 2008.

In order to maintain as politically neutral a role as possible, Interpol's constitution forbids its involvement in crimes that do not overlap several member countries, or in any political, military, religious, or racial crimes. Its work focuses primarily on public safety, terrorism, organized crime, war crimes, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime, intellectual property crime and corruption.

In 2005, the Interpol General Secretariat employed a staff of 502, representing 78 member countries. Women comprised 42 percent of the staff. The Interpol public website received an average of 2.2 million page visits every month. Interpol's red notices that year led to the arrests of 3,500 people.


Interpol was founded in Austria in 1923 as the International Criminal Police (ICP). Following the Anschluss (Austria's annexation by Nazi Germany) in 1938, the organization fell under the control of Nazi Germany and the Commission's headquarters were eventually moved to Berlin in 1942. It is unclear, however, if and to what extent the ICPC files were used to further the goals of the Nazi regime.

After the end of World War II in 1945, the organization was revived, as the International Criminal Police Organization, by European Allies of World War II officials from Belgium, France, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. Its new headquarters were established in Saint-Cloud, a town on the outskirts of Paris. They remained there until 1989, when they were moved to their present location, Lyon.


Each member country maintains a National Central Bureau (NCB) staffed by national law enforcement officers. The NCB is the designated contact point for the Interpol General Secretariat, regional bureaus and other member countries requiring assistance with overseas investigations and the location and apprehension of fugitives. This is especially important in countries which have many law-enforcement agencies: this central bureau is a unique point of contact for foreign entities, which may not understand the complexity of the law-enforcement system of the country they attempt to contact. For instance, the NCB for the United States of America is housed at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The NCB will then ensure the proper transmission of information to the correct agency.

Interpol maintains a large database charting unsolved crimes and both convicted and alleged criminals. At any time, a member nation has access to specific sections of the database and its police forces are encouraged to check information held by Interpol whenever a major crime is committed. The rationale behind this is that drug traffickers and similar criminals have international ties, and so it is likely that crimes will extend beyond political boundaries.

In 2002, Interpol began maintaining a database of lost and stolen identification and travel documents, allowing member countries to be alerted to the true nature of such documents when presented. Passport fraud, for example, is often performed by altering a stolen passport; in response, several member countries have worked to make online queries into the stolen document database part of their standard operating procedure in border control departments. As of early 2006, the database contained over ten million identification items reported lost or stolen, and is expected to grow more as more countries join the list of those reporting into the database.

A member nation's police force can contact one or more member nations by sending a message relayed through Interpol offices.

Member states and sub-bureaus

Sub-bureaus shown in italics.

 American Samoa
 Antigua and Barbuda
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 British Virgin Islands
 Burkina Faso
 Cape Verde
 Cayman Islands
 Central African Republic
 People's Republic of China
 Republic of the Congo
 Congo (Democratic Rep.)
 Costa Rica
 Côte d'Ivoire

 Czech Republic
 Dominican Republic
 East Timor
 El Salvador
 Equatorial Guinea
 FYR Macedonia
 Hong Kong
 Republic of Korea

 Marshall Islands
 Netherlands Antilles
 New Zealand
 Papua New Guinea
 Puerto Rico

 St. Kitts and Nevis
 St. Lucia
 St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  São Tomé and Príncipe
 Saudi Arabia
 San Marino
 Sierra Leone
 South Africa
 Sri Lanka
 Trinidad and Tobago
 Turks and Caicos
 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom
 United States

Non-member countries

Secretaries-general and presidents

Secretaries-general since organization's inception in 1923:

Austria Oskar Dressler to 1946
France Louis Ducloux to 1951
France Marcel Sicot to 1963
France Jean Népote to 1978
France André Bossard to 1985
United Kingdom Raymond Kendall to 2000
United States Ronald Noble since 2000

Presidents since organization's inception in 1923:

Austria Johann Schober to 1932
Austria Franz Brandl to 1934
Austria Eugen Seydel to 1935
Austria Michael Skubl to 1938
Nazi Germany Otto Steinhäusl to 1940
Nazi Germany Reinhard Heydrich to 1942
Nazi Germany Artur Nebe to 1943
Nazi Germany Ernst Kaltenbrunner to 1945
Belgium Florent Louwage to 1956
Portugal Agostinho Lourenço to 1960
United Kingdom Richard Jackson to 1963
Finland Fjalar Jarva to 1964
Belgium Firmin Franssen to 1968
West Germany Paul Dickopf to 1972
Canada William Leonard Higgitt to 1976
Sweden Carl Persson to 1980
Philippines Jolly Bugarin to 1984
United States John Simpson to 1988
France Ivan Barbot to 1992
Canada Norman Inkster to 1994
Sweden Björn Eriksson to 1996
Japan Toshinori Kanemoto to 2000
Spain Jesús Espigares Mira to 2004
South Africa Jackie Selebi to 2008
Chile Arturo Herrera Verdugo acting president until the General Assembly in Sankt Petersburg in October 2008, and candidate for the President on that General Assembly
In some works of fiction, Interpol officers are seen conducting investigations in member countries. However, this is a highly fictionalized version of the operations of Interpol. Its main role is the passing on of information, not actual law enforcement.

Many television programs, films, and other media have featured Interpol agents, either in a fictionalized form or more true-to-life.



  • Richard Wyler played the title role of the Man From Interpol 1958-59 British TV series that was shown on NBC in 1960.
  • Inspector Gadget is an agent of Interpol.
  • In the show Sealab 2021 Quin calls Interpol to find information on a fraudster named Master Lu.
  • In the 2007 season of LOST, an Interpol report is seen when it is discovered that is has been filed against one of the main characters.
  • In the anime Azumanga Daioh, the character Tomo Takino wants to be an Interpol agent in the future.
  • In the show Batman Beyond which takes place in the mid-21st century, Interpol is mentioned in reference to its criminal database.
  • The Goon Show made a few references to Interpol throughout its run in the 1950s.
  • Department S was a British TV series about a fictional Special investigation department of Interpol.
  • In Psych Shawn Spencer pretends to be an Interpol agent.
  • In the anime One Piece exist an association Named Cipher Pol.
  • The logo of the Terran Empire within Star Trek's Mirror Universe resembles that used by Interpol.


  • In the comedy film Johnny English, it is eventually revealed that Lorna Campbell ( Natalie Imbruglia) is an Interpol agent spying on Pascal Sauvage.
  • In the movie Lord of War, Jack Valentine ( Ethan Hawke) is an Interpol officer.
  • In the movie Mission: Impossible III, Ethan Hunt ( Tom Cruise) is told he is on Interpol's Most Wanted list.
  • In the Indian movie Don starring Shah Rukh Khan, the Interpol is trying to capture Don.
  • The protagonists in the film The Medallion are agents of Interpol.
  • In the movie Assassins an interpol agent is shot by Antonio Banderas
  • In the movie Hitman (2007), Agent 47 is chased by two Interpol agents.
  • In the movie "Eye of the Beholder" Ewan McGergor works for Interpol


  • In the book and movie The Da Vinci Code, Interpol is mentioned several times, mainly in reference to their extensive database of information.
  • In the book Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident one of the antagonists notes to his companions that the protagonist, Artemis Fowl, has an Interpol file.
  • In the novels of Chris Kuzneski, Nick Dial is the director of the fictitious homicide division of Interpol. Dial made his first appearance in Sign of the Cross and was also featured in Sword of God and The Lost Throne.


  • In Capcom's Street Fighter video game franchise (and many of its adaptations to other media), Chun-Li is an agent of Interpol.
  • In the original Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? game from 1985, the user worked for Interpol. Later Carmen Sandiego media instead featured the fictional Interpol-esque ACME Detective Agency.
  • In the game Resident Evil: Code Veronica X, Chris Redfield from S.T.A.R.S. is working with an Interpol officer before he turns to Anti Umbrella Activism.
  • Bryan Fury in Tekken 3 had been an American Interpol officer before he was turned to a cyborg after being shot by gunmen in a shootout in Hong Kong. Likewise, Lei Wulong is a Hong Kong Interpol officer.
  • In the game Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, one of the victims in a case that protagonist Apollo Justice is faced against is an Interpol officer.
  • In Vigilante 8: Second Offense Agent Chase works for CHRONOPOL, an Interpol for time.
  • In the Sly Cooper series, Carmelita Fox and a few other characters are Interpol officers.
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