The Interpol General Assembly meeting in Delhi

What are the roles and functions of the International Criminal Police Organisation? What is the significance of a Red notice? Will the upcoming meeting in Delhi bring about major changes?

Published - October 14, 2022 10:30 am IST

The story so far: The General Assembly of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) is meeting in Delhi for four days from October 18. This is the second time since 1997 the 195 member-strong body is holding such a large conference in India.

What is the Interpol?

Set up in 1923, the Interpol is 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 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. Aided by state-of-the art databases and computer analytics, the Interpol operates round the clock and employs some of the best minds in the area of crime analysis and technology. It aims to promote the widest-possible mutual assistance between criminal police forces.

How is the Interpol organised?

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 elected by the General Assembly, who holds office for five years. 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.

All contact of a country’s law enforcement agency with Interpol is through the highest investigating body of the land. The 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.

What is the Red notice?

It is a structured communication issued by the Interpol to all member-nations notifying the name(s) of persons against whom an arrest warrant is pending in a particular country. The notice issued requests all member nations that if the named individual(s) is located in their country an immediate communication should be sent to the nation that wants him in connection with a criminal investigation.

What does one expect from the Delhi meeting?

The entire global police leadership will be in Delhi for this session. Smuggling of arms and drugs continue to worry those who desire to see a stable world order. The session is also expected to throw up a few tricky questions involving protection given to deviance by the establishment itself in some regions of the world on grounds of dubious economic and sovereign considerations.

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.

R. K. Raghavan is a former CBI Director. He currently teaches at the Jindal Global University, Sonepat

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