What is Interpol?

Interpol is an international criminal police organization. The word ‘Interpol’ is derived from the two words ‘international’ and ‘police’ and stands for the International Criminal Police Commission. Interpol is a strictly non-political, non-religious, non-racial organization in which the police forces of more than hundred different nations cooperate with each other. Its headquarters are situated in Paris.

The job of the Interpol is to trace criminals. According to international law, police of one country cannot enter the territory of another country to apprehend a criminal who, after committing a crime, has absconded there. Interpol helps in such situations to trace out the criminals. Every country has its representative in Interpol.


After the First World War, crimes increased considerably in Europe, especially in Austria. After committing crimes, criminals used to go to some neighbouring country and hide themselves there. In order to arrest such criminals, Johann Scober, the then police chief of Vienna, called a meeting of the police officials of different countries in 1923. It was in this meeting that twenty countries jointly established Interpol. Its first head office was made in Vienna and Johann became its first president.

In 1938 Germany invaded Austria and with this came the end of the Interpol. During the Second World War Interpol remained inactive. After this War, Flaurent Lovagay, Inspector General of Belgium police revived it. Due to the unavailability of necessary facilities in Belgium, the head office of Interpol could not be established there. Paris became its new head office. By 1955, fifty-five countries became members of Interpol. India continues to be a member of Interpol since 1938. In 1956, Interpol was given a new constitution.

Interpol makes use of the most modern scientific means to catch criminals. To trace and arrest criminals is the only function of this organization. It cannot be used for any political, military or religious activity.