Interpol, more correctly the
International Criminal Police Organization, was created in 1923 to assist
international criminal police co-operation. The organization's new name was
adopted in 1956, prior to which it was known as the International Criminal
Interpol was founded in
Austria in 1923 as the International. Criminal Police Commission. The
organization came under control of Nazi Germany when Germany declared the
Anschluss, political union between Germany and Austria. The staff and
facilities of Interpol were utilised as an information gathering unit for the
Gestapo, until the Nazi regime fell to Allied forces.
Senior military officials from
Britain, France, Belgium and Scandinavia reorganized Interpol into today's
The United States, after a
period of isolationism, joined Interpol in 1961.
Interpol is the world's second
largest international organization, after the United Nations; it currently has
184 member countries. It is financed by annual contributions from its member
countries, which total about EUR 30 million; however, Europol receives^ million
annually. The Organization is headquartered in Lyon, France, formerly
headquartered in Saint Cloud, a town located in the vicinity of Paris.
Because of the politically
neutral role Interpol must play, its Constitution forbids any involvement in
any political, military, religious, or racial crimes. Its work concentres
primarily on public safety and terrorism, organized crime, illicit drug
production and drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, trafficking in human
beings, money laundering, child pornography, financial and high-tech crime, and
In October 2001, the Interpol
General Secretariat employed a staff of 384, representing 54 different
countries. That same month, Interpol began to change from a 9-to-5 agency to a
24-hour agency, making its work more efficient.