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Questions and Answers




Q. What is INTERPOL?

A. Created in 1923, INTERPOL is the world's largest international police organization with 190 member countries. It facilitates cross border police co-operation, and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime.

Q. Does INTERPOL also investigate crimes?

A. INTERPOL 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 network, and these requests are passed on to the appropriate police force of jurisdiction.

Q. Where is the INTERPOL headquarters located?

A. INTERPOL’s General Secretariat is located in Lyon, France.

Q. How is INTERPOL structured?

A. In addition to the headquarters (General Secretariat) in Lyon France, INTERPOL has five regional bureaus in Harare (Zimbabwe), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Nairobi (Kenya), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and San Salvador (El Salvador), plus a liaison office in Bangkok (Thailand). These centers provide in-depth experience of regional crime issues and co-ordinate practical counter-crime operations between countries within the region. Each member country of INTERPOL also has a National Central Bureau (NCB) staffed by national law enforcement officers. The NCB is the designated contact point for the General Secretariat, regional bureaus and other member countries requiring assistance with overseas investigations.

Q. When does INTERPOL operate?

A. INTERPOL operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in four official languages, English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Q. How is INTERPOL funded?

A. INTERPOL is financed by its member countries whose governments pay annual contributions based on the economies of the member countries.

Q. What is Canada’s financial contribution to INTERPOL?

A. For 2007, Canada’s contribution was approximately $ 2 million Cdn.

Q. What is INTERPOL Ottawa (The Canadian National Central Bureau)?

A. INTERPOL Ottawa, also known as the Canadian National Central Bureau (NCB), represents the interests of the INTERPOL organization in Canada. It supports Canadian law enforcement agencies that are conducting criminal investigations by facilitating international cooperation between Canada and other countries through the exchange of timely, accurate and relevant information.

Q. How does INTERPOL Ottawa assist the Canadian law enforcement community?

A. In addition to responding to international requests for assistance in criminal matters from 190 member countries of INTERPOL, INTERPOL Ottawa is also the primary gateway for the entire Canadian law enforcement community to pursue assistance in criminal matters outside of Canada. It provides coordination and assistance for the Canadian law enforcement community in the following areas: - Pursuing criminal investigations abroad, - Establishing rapid contact with foreign police agencies and liaison officers, - Transmitting requests for information required in investigations to National Central Bureaus in other countries

Q. When was INTERPOL Ottawa created?

A. Canada became a member of INTERPOL in 1949 and the RCMP was delegated the responsibility for administering and operating the National Central Bureau (INTERPOL Ottawa).

Q. Where is INTERPOL Ottawa located?

A. INTERPOL Ottawa is housed at RCMP National Headquarters and is a branch within the RCMP’s International Policing Sector. It is composed of RCMP and seconded Canadian police officers, public service employees and civilian members.

Q. How can members of the public report or provide information about international crimes that have a Canadian connection?

A. INTERPOL only deals with police-to-police requests, so the general public cannot contact INTERPOL directly. To report a crime, or to provide information or tips on a international investigation, please contact your police force of jurisdiction.