Police work on the ground
Despite popular ideas about INTERPOL, we don't have secret agents travelling undercover around the world like James Bond! But we do help police to carry out important and sometimes very dangerous investigations and operations.
We can send specialized teams to locations all over the world to assist in a disaster situation. These teams offer expert assistance to local police following events such as a drug seizure or a bombing. Other teams can help plan and support the security arrangements for major events such as the Olympic Games.
We also spend a lot of time training law enforcement staff across the world so that police are equipped with the latest technology, techniques and practices.
To help police verify quickly whether a person is wanted, or whether a passport or car is stolen, INTERPOL manages a number of different databases that store information on criminals and crime activities. These databases contain information supplied by police forces in many different countries.
Many crimes take place across several countries for example, drugs are smuggled from South America to Europe via Africa so it's important that law enforcement agencies across the world communicate with each other to help catch these criminals. To do this, they need to have access to shared systems and information.
All 187 of INTERPOL's member countries are connected to our global police communications network, called I-24/7. It's a high-tech online system that allows police to send messages and top secret information securely and to check information in our databases.
For instance, in a true example, police in Monaco found fingerprints at a crime scene, ran a check in INTERPOL's database, discovered the identity of the criminal and the fact that he was linked to crimes in Serbia and, in addition, that he was wanted by police in another five European countries.
INTERPOL then published a Red Notice for this criminal - this is an international wanted persons notice that puts all member countries on the lookout for the individual with a view to his arrest.