INTERPOL and Europol
INTERPOL is the world's largest international police organization, representing 190 member countries. It facilitates cross-border police cooperation and assists with preventing and combatting international crime. INTERPOL is the first point of contact for many countries pursuing an international investigation. It does not actively investigate crimes. It serves as a conduit for member countries to share information and seek assistance in criminal investigations in their respective jurisdictions. Requests for investigative assistance are often made through the INTERPOL networks, and these requests are passed onto the appropriate police force of jurisdiction.
INTERPOL does not respond to requests from the general public. To report a crime, or to provide information or tips on an international investigation, contact your local police.
Some of INTERPOL's unique services include:
- Access to criminal databases, to conduct international checks on criminal records, passports, vehicle identification numbers, firearms, etc.
- Issuing INTERPOL Notices to all member countries to help locate a fugitive, a missing person or to gather information on a subject.
- Coordinating and providing assistance in locating/deporting/extraditing foreign fugitives on Canadian soil and Canadian fugitives abroad.
- Providing up-to-date information to police investigators on legislation pertaining to criminal investigations and on Canadian requirements for pre-extradition.
The RCMP operates Canada's National Central Bureau, INTERPOL Ottawa. INTERPOL Ottawa is housed at RCMP National Headquarters, and is composed of RCMP and seconded Canadian police officers, public service employees and civilian members.
INTERPOL Ottawa is Canada's operations centre and acts as the front-line responder for Canadian police and government departments requiring international assistance in criminal matters. The centre is responsible for receiving, evaluating and efficiently processing all requests for assistance from INTERPOL member countries. INTERPOL Ottawa:
- Serves as the main point of contact for Canadian law enforcement to pursue assistance in criminal matters outside of Canada.
- Channels requests for assistance to foreign countries on a police-to-police basis.
- Conducts international checks on criminal records, passports, immigration, vehicle identification numbers, aircraft identification, firearms identification and locates next of kin.
- Assists with the identification of criminals via databases.
- Issues INTERPOL Notices to all member countries to locate a fugitive, missing person or to gather information on a subject under observation when travelling abroad.
Red: To seek arrest of a wanted person for whom an arrest warrant has been issued and where extradition will likely be requested. (Note: An arrest warrant from another country has no legal status in Canada.)
Blue: To locate persons and collect information on identity or illegal activities in relation to a criminal matter (unidentified offenders, witnesses).
Green: To provide warnings or criminal intelligence about persons who have committed offences and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries (habitual offenders, child molesters, pedophiles).
Yellow: To locate missing persons.
Black: To identify bodies.
Orange: Warns police, public institutions and other international organizations of dangerous materials, criminal acts or events that pose a potential threat to public safety.
INTERPOL-UN Council Special Notice: Issued for groups and individuals associated with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and subject to sanctions through the freezing of assets, travel bans and arms embargoes.
Police-to-police requests for assistance in criminal investigations
From Canada to a foreign country
Canadian police who wish to enter a foreign country to assist authorities in that country with a criminal investigation must do the following:
- Request permission from the foreign state to enter their country for the purpose of conducting a criminal investigation.
- Make the request via INTERPOL Ottawa. Each request will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, as regulations vary from one country to the other.
- Once the request has been approved, ensure you have proper travel documents. For some countries, a passport and visa is required, for others, a valid passport only.
From a foreign country to Canada
- Consult the Foreign Criminal Investigators' Protocol which defines the process for foreign criminal investigators, Global Affairs Canada and Canadian law enforcement officials must follow before allowing foreign criminal investigators to enter Canada to pursue a criminal investigation.
Europol is the European Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation handling criminal intelligence and offering operational support. Its aim is to improve the effectiveness and cooperation between the competent authorities of the member states and third party members (like Canada) in preventing and combatting serious international organized crime, cyber crime and terrorism.
Europol serves as a:
- support centre for law enforcement operations;
- hub for information on criminal activities;
- centre for law enforcement expertise.
Europol produces regular assessments that offer analyses of crime and terrorism in the EU.
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