Interpol’s Role and Jurisdiction in London

Interpol's Role and Jurisdiction in London

The importance of international police cooperation cannot be overstated, particularly in today’s world, where criminals increasingly operate across borders, leveraging technological advancements to their advantage.

Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization) is a key player in the global fight against crime to bridge the gap between law enforcement agencies across 194 member countries. Its primary objective is to facilitate police worldwide to work jointly to make the world safer.

This article comprehensively provides an overview of Interpol’s role and jurisdiction, particularly in London. We’ll discuss the organisation’s functions, how it collaborates with UK law enforcement agencies, and the legal frameworks that underpin its operations. 

Let’s get started!

Understanding Interpol and Its Structure

Interpol serves as a link in the chain of international law enforcement collaboration. Its primary mission is to facilitate cross-border police cooperation and assist organisations, authorities, and services to control or fight crime globally.

Interpol operates as a neutral entity, adhering to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As Article 3 of its constitution outlines, intervention or activities in matters of a military, religious, politically motivated, or racial character are strictly forbidden.

The organisation was established in 1923, making it one of the oldest international organisations aimed at facilitating international police cooperation. Its inception was motivated by the need to combat the increasing internationalisation of crime, which was outpacing the capabilities of national law enforcement agencies to address threats effectively. 

Currently, it has 194 member countries, making it one of the most extensive international police organisations in the world. Every member nation has a National Central Bureau (NCB), which operates as an intermediary between the law enforcement agencies of that country and the General Secretariat of Interpol, located in Lyon, France.

The General Assembly, which includes delegates from all member countries, is Interpol’s supreme governing body. Its annual meeting decides on policy, resources, operating procedures, finances, and exercises.

The General Secretariat, led by the Secretary-General, oversees Interpol’s day-to-day operations. It provides a range of services to member countries, including issuing notices (such as the well-known red notices and diffusions for fugitives), managing databases on crimes and criminals, and providing operational support for investigations and arrests across borders.

The framework enables Interpol to operate with optimal efficiency as a widespread network, promoting fast information sharing and collaboration among law enforcement agencies across the globe.

Learn more about Understanding Interpol Red Notices

What Are the Functions of Interpol

Interpol’s functions span various dimensions of crime prevention and enforcement. These include: 

Information Exchange

Interpol’s primary mission is the exchange of data among member nations. This process is crucial for tracking criminal activities that span multiple jurisdictions. Interpol uses a secure global police communications system known as I-24/7 to enable real-time information sharing and access to criminals, stolen property, and weapons databases.

This network allows law enforcement agencies to quickly share alerts, intelligence, and critical data, significantly enhancing the global response to international crime.

Assistance in Investigations

Interpol assists in investigations that involve multiple countries. By providing analytical support, expertise, and resources, Interpol helps member countries to dissect complex international cases.

This assistance can take many forms, including deploying Incident Response Teams to support countries dealing with major crimes or disasters. The team can provide forensic, investigative, and operational support to crack down on crimes ranging from human trafficking to cybercrime.

Fugitive Tracking

One of Interpol’s most visible functions is tracking and apprehending fugitives who cross international borders to evade justice. Through tools like the Interpol Red Notice, a request to find and provisionally capture a person pending extradition, Interpol facilitates member countries to chase down fugitives worldwide.

This global alert system is essential for ensuring criminals cannot escape justice simply by moving to another country.

Capacity Building

Interpol’s commitment to strengthening the global law enforcement infrastructure is evident in its capacity-building initiatives. These programs aim to enhance the skills and knowledge of police forces worldwide, ensuring they are equipped to tackle modern challenges in crime.

Through training workshops, seminars, and joint operations, Interpol provides member countries with the tools and techniques for effective crime fighting, focusing on counter-terrorism, cybercrime, and narcotics.

Border Management

Managing and securing international borders is vital in preventing criminals and terrorists from moving freely between countries. Interpol supports border management efforts by providing access to its databases and checking systems at border checkpoints. 

This allows border control officers to perform instant checks on individuals and goods, helping to identify and stop criminals trying to enter or leave a country.

Crime Analysis

Interpol’s extensive crime analysis capabilities support member countries in identifying patterns and trends in criminal behaviour, facilitating a proactive approach to crime prevention. By analysing data from various sources, Interpol helps law enforcement agencies to understand emerging threats and to plan and implement effective countermeasures.

Interpol in London: Jurisdiction and Legal Framework

Interpol’s operations in the United Kingdom are performed through the National Central Bureau (NCB) in London. This bureau bridges the resources and intelligence of Interpol’s global network and the UK’s domestic law enforcement efforts. 

Interpol’s operations within London and the broader UK are governed by a complex legal framework that intertwines international agreements, UK legislation, and Interpol’s own constitution and regulations. Here are the key components:

  1. Interpol’s Constitution: This foundational document outlines Interpol’s objectives, governance structure, and general operational guidelines. While it establishes the legal basis for Interpol’s work, the constitution respects the sovereignty of member countries, meaning Interpol’s activities in London must align with UK laws and regulations.
  2. International Agreements: The UK’s membership in Interpol is also guided by international agreements and treaties that outline the scope of cooperation between countries in policing and judicial matters. These agreements set the parameters for exchanging information and assistance across borders.
  3. UK Legislation: Domestic laws such as the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Extradition Act 2003, among others, provide the legal foundation for law enforcement activities in the UK. These laws also define how international cooperation and assistance requests facilitated by Interpol are to be handled.

Recently, the UK and INTERPOL have agreed on specific privileges and immunities for INTERPOL’s operations within the UK, facilitating enhanced transnational police cooperation. This agreement incorporates legal immunities and operational freedoms into UK law, emphasising respect for human rights and the administration of justice.

How We Can Help You Navigate Issues With Interpol

Facing an issue with Interpol can significantly impact your personal freedom and tarnish your reputation. At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, our Interpol lawyers and solicitors provide specialised support to help you navigate the complexities of Interpol procedures and UK extradition laws, offering you unparalleled expertise in managing your situation.

With a comprehensive understanding and a worldwide network of legal professionals, we are prepared to deliver a strategic defence against all kinds of Interpol Notices and extradition demands. Contact us now to discover the ways we can assist you during these difficult times.


Interpol facilitates international police cooperation in dealing with international crime. It acts as a central hub for law enforcement agencies from various member states to work together against organised crime, ensuring the safety and security of citizens globally.

Interpol Red Notices are alerts allocated to find and capture individuals wanted for serious crimes. These notices serve as international requests for cooperation among member countries to locate and provisionally arrest fugitives based on valid national judicial authorities. However, it’s important to note that the Red Notice is not a direct arrest warrant.

Interpol itself does not possess investigative or prosecutorial authority; it acts as a facilitator for police forces from different countries to collaborate on transnational cases. The enforcement of extradition requests and legal actions related to criminal matters fall within the jurisdiction of the respective national police or law enforcement agencies in London.

Individuals subject to Interpol Red Notices can seek legal assistance from a reputable extradition defence solicitor or law firm to challenge the notice through proper legal channels. Experienced solicitors in London can guide individuals on the process of challenging Interpol red notices in accordance with international criminal law.

The General Assembly serves as Interpol’s highest governing body, bringing together representatives from member states to discuss and decide on key policies, resources, and initiatives. It plays a vital role in effectively shaping Interpol’s direction and strategies for combating international crime.

Ask our Expert Legal Team

At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.

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