INTERPOL history A brief history of INTERPOL
Former Secretaries General
Presidents of INTERPOL
A brief history of INTERPOL
1914: First International Criminal Police Congress held in Monaco. Police officers, lawyers
and magistrates from 14 countries meet to discuss arrest procedures,
identification techniques, centralized international criminal records and extradition
1923: Creation of the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) with headquarters
in Vienna, Austria, on the initiative of Dr Johannes Schober, president of the
Wanted persons notices first published in INTERPOL’s International Public Safety
1925: The General Assembly, held in Berlin, proposes that each country establish a
central point of contact within its police structure: the forerunner of the National
Central Bureau (NCB).
1927: Resolution to establish NCBs adopted.
1930: Specialized departments established to deal with currency counterfeiting, criminal
records and passport forgery.
1932: Following the death of Dr Schober, new statutes put in place creating the post of
Secretary General. The first was Austrian Police Commissioner Oskar Dressler.
1935: INTERPOL international radio network launched.
1938: The Nazis assume control after deposing of Secretary General Oskar Dressler. Most
countries stop participating and ICPC effectively ceases to exist as an international
1942: ICPC falls completely under German control and is relocated to Berlin.
1946: Belgium leads the rebuilding of the organization after the end of World War II. A
new headquarters set up in Paris, and ‘INTERPOL’ chosen as the organization’s
telegraphic address. Democratic process to elect the President and Executive
Present INTERPOL colour-coded notice system initiated and first Red Notices for
persons wanted internationally issued.
1949: The United Nations grants INTERPOL consultative status as a non-governmental
1956: Following the adoption of a modernized constitution, the ICPC becomes the
International Criminal Police Organization-INTERPOL, abbreviated to ICPO-
INTERPOL or just INTERPOL. The organization becomes autonomous by collecting
dues from member countries and relying on investments as the main means of
1958: Contributions of member countries revised and financial regulations adopted.
1963: First regional conference held, in Monrovia, Liberia
1965: The General Assembly sets out operating policies for NCBs.
1971: The United Nations recognizes INTERPOL as an intergovernmental organization.
1972: A Headquarters Agreement with France recognizes INTERPOL as an international
1982: An independent body created to monitor the implementation of INTERPOL’s
internal rules in relation to data protection. This will become the Commission for
the Control of INTERPOL Files in 2003.
1989: INTERPOL moves its General Secretariat to Lyon, France.
1990: The X.400 communication system launched, enabling NCBs to send electronic
messages to each other and to the General Secretariat directly.
1992: An automated search facility for remote searches of INTERPOL databases
1995: As part of a programme of regionalization the General Assembly adopts guidelines
for the establishment and operation of Sub-Regional Bureaus.
1996: ASF-SMV database operational.
1997: INTERPOL’s first website launched.
1998: INTERPOL Criminal Information System (ICIS) database created.
2002: The I-24/7 web-based communication system launched, significantly improving
NCBs’ access to INTERPOL’s databases and services. Canada is the first country to
connect to the system. Database of stolen and lost travel documents launched.
2003: A Command and Co-ordination Centre created at the General Secretariat, enabling
the organization to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
2004: INTERPOL liaison office inaugurated at the United Nations in New York and first
Special Representative appointed.
2005: First INTERPOL-United Nations Special Notices issued for individuals subject to UN
sanctions against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
2008: Special Representative appointed to the European Union in Brussels.