Free Essay Sample: Historical Background and Purpose of Interpol

Published: 2022-04-18
Free Essay Sample: Historical Background and Purpose of Interpol
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Intelligence services Police
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 832 words
7 min read

In 1914, the first ever International Criminal Police Congress that saw police officers, criminal lawyers, and magistrates from over 20 countries was held in Monaco. The main agenda of the meeting was discussing arrest procedures and centralization of international criminal records. It was not until 1923 that the ideas proposed in the earlier conference were put into action to create the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC). Dr. Johannes Schober, the president of Vienna Police, was the man behind the creation of ICPC. Consequently, the headquarters of ICPC was in Vienna, Austria. After the death of Dr. Johannes Schober in 1932, several statues were introduced for the organization including the new post of secretary general occupied by Oskar Dressier, the Austrian Police Commissioner.

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Under the authority of Oskar Dressier, the organization launched its international radio network that provided an independent telecommunications system for criminal police for all the member states. From 1938 during the World War II, the organization was disbanded entirely by the German Nazis. After the World War II was over Belgium, began the reconstruction of the organization in 1946 and new headquarters set up in Paris, France. During the same year, a democratic process was implemented to elect the President replacing the secretary general position. Executive Committee of the organization was also introduced and would also be elected through a democratic process. The first action of the new committee was naming INTERPOL as the telegraphic address of the organization. Finally, the name INTERPOL became the organization's official name (Bresler, 1992).

Structure and Functions of the Governing Body

The 192 member countries drive the organization's activities within a clear framework of governing bodies that include a General Assembly, an Executive Committee, General Secretariat, and National Central Bureaus. The General Assembly has representatives from each member state. It is the supreme governing body of the INTERPOL, and all the members meet once a year to make all the major decisions that affect its general policy, the resources the organization needs, and working methods (Andriani, 2007). The General Assembly also chooses the members of the Executive Committee of the INTERPOL. Most of the decisions by the Assembly are made through a simple majority vote where each member state represents one vote.

The Executive Committee has 13 members including the President of the Organization with three Vice-Presidents and nine delegates. All the 13 members of the EC are from different countries. The General Assembly elects the President every four years. The main function of the EC is to set the organizational policies and direction. It does this by supervising the execution of the decisions made by the General Assembly, preparing agenda for GA meetings, and monitoring the Secretary-General (Martha, 2010).

The General Secretariat's primary function is to enhance cooperation of police within a region to efficiently tackle common crime issues. Accordingly, the Secretariat has seven regional offices globally located in Argentina, Kenya, Thailand, Cameron, Zimbabwe, El Salvador, and Cote d Ivoire. The headquarters of the Secretariat is in Lyon, France.

The National Central Bureaus are the link between the member states with the INTERPOL. Each NCB in a member country links its national police with the organization's global network. NCBs serve as the national contact points for INTERPOL activities in a country. NCBs were proposed because of the cross-border nature of organized criminal syndicates (Fooner, 2013). NCBs are staffed by highly trained police officers to contribute to the organization's criminal database and facilitate cooperation on cross-border investigations and arrests. Problems and Challenges Faced by the Interpol

One of the foundations of INTERPOL was based on the freedom of the organization to operate in the member countries without the fear of political interference. Again, INTERPOL is not supposed to be involved in political matters of the member states. Unfortunately, this has continued to be the case over the years as autocratic members violate this freedom and continue to use INTERPOL to harass their enemies. Anderson (2009), gives the 2008 case of Ilya Katsnelson as an example. The American business executive was arrested in Germany and held in a maximum security prison for two months because of a Red Notice requested by the Russian regime as an example.

Another problem faced by INTERPOL was mentioned by Fooner (2013), who observed that the organization's constitution does not have any provisions to reprimand the member states who refuse to cooperate in multinational; criminal investigations. Due to the difference of law enforcement systems by the member countries, some states refuse to co-operate with the INTERPOL and the organization is left with no choice but to give up its activities on such occasions. Martha (2010), proposes that INTERPOL should pass such provisions to make it more powerful and authoritative as the United Nations is in member countries.


Anderson, M. (2009). Policing the world: Interpol and the politics of international police co-operation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Andriani, R. (2007). Interpol: The Front Lines of Global Cooperation. Crime and Justice International, 23(98), 4.

Bresler, F. S. (1992). Interpol. Vintage.

Fooner, M. (2013). Interpol: issues in world crime and international criminal justice. Springer.

Martha, R. S. J. (2010). The Legal Foundations of INTERPOL. Hart Pub.

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