Little Bits of History

September 7

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 7, 2017

1923: The International Police Organization (INTERPOL) is formed. The intergovernmental organization helps to facilitate international police cooperation. In 1914, a first attempt was made to establish such an organization, but it was put forth by politicians and legal experts rather than by police themselves and was not capitalized upon. The second such attempt was made in 1922 but failed to gather international attention. In 1923, at the International Criminal Police Congress held in Vienna, the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) was formed and INTERPOL followed from that. The original list of countries ranged from Austria to Yugoslavia and numbered fifteen. The United Kingdom joined in 1928 and the US joined in 1938.

INTERPOL fell under the control of Nazi Germany in 1938 and headquarters were moved to Berlin. Most of the members withdrew their support during this period and between 1938 and 1945, all the presidents were generals in the SS with Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the fourth of these, the highest ranking SS officer executed after the Nuremberg Trials. After World War II ended, the organization was revived as an international group with headquarters outside Paris, where they remained until moved to Lyon in 1989. Before 1980, INTERPOL did not intervene in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals in accordance with their Charter, prohibiting intervention in “political” matters.

Despite what is shown in movies or on TV, INTERPOL is not a supranational law enforcement agency and they have no agents with which to make arrests. They function as a network of agencies from different countries working in unison with INTERPOL acting as liaison between different nations. They provide database assistance to help coordinate information sharing between member nations’ separate law enforcement agencies. INTERPOL has a membership of 190 countries and is the second largest political organization in the world with only the United Nations being larger. Their annual budget is €78 million with under a thousand employees at the INTERPOL General Secretariat, their headquarters.

There are seven regional offices outside their headquarters and they opened a Special Representative Office to the UN in New York City in 2004 as well as the European Union in Brussels in 2009. They built the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore to help with research and development and as a place to investigate digital crimes which officially opened in 2015 although it was functional prior to that date. There have been eight secretaries-general with Jurgen Stock of Germany holding that position today. There have been 28 presidents with Meng Hongwei of China in that position now. INTERPOL issues notices when required and in 2013 there were 13,637 of them with 8,857 of them being Red Notices or the highest of the eight types.

Every day, in every city and town across the country, police officers are performing vital services that help make their communities safer. – Eric Schneiderman

It is a lot harder now to be a police officer than what it used to be. – Steven Seagal

The police must obey the law while enforcing the law. – Earl Warren

The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence. – Robert Peel



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