INTERPOL is the intergovernmental organisation that facilitates international police co-operation. It is responsible, amongst other things, for circulating international alerts (known as “notices”) and requests for information relating to specific criminal activity (known as “diffusions”) from one police force to their counterparts around the world.
INTERPOL has 194 member countries and its headquarters are in Lyon, France. It’s activities are co-ordinated by a General Secretariat headed by the Secretary General, currently Jürgen Stock of Germany. The General Assembly is INTERPOL’s governing body, made up of representatives from each member country, which meets once a year to nominate members to an Executive Committee and to review and approve INTERPOL’s budget, activities and programmes.
Each member country has a National Central Bureau (NCB) staffed by domestic law enforcement officers which connects to all other NCBs and the General Secretariat via a secure communications network, enabling notices and diffusions to be circulated quickly and securely to polices forces around the world.
There are eight types of notice. In summary, they are:
- Red Notice – To seek the location and arrest of a person wanted by a judicial jurisdiction or an international tribunal with a view to his/her extradition.
- Blue Notice – To collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.
- Green Notice – To provide warnings and intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offences and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries.
- Yellow Notice – To help locate missing persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves.
- Black Notice – To seek information on unidentified bodies.
- Orange Notice -To warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.
- Purple Notice – To seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.
- INTERPOL – United Nations Security Council Special Notice – Issued for groups and individuals who are the targets of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees.
- Diffusion – To alert law enforcement that another country is seeking the arrest of a person. Diffusions are not issued by INTERPOL, they are circulated through INTERPOL’s channels on behalf of member countries.
More information about the notices used by INTERPOL is available here.