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INTERPOL is the world's largest international police organization, representing 195 member countries. It facilitates cross-border police cooperation and assists with preventing and combatting international crime. It is headquartered in Lyon, France.
INTERPOL is often the first point of contact for many countries pursuing an international investigation. It does not actively investigate crimes.
INTERPOL National Central Bureaus
Each country has an INTERPOL National Central Bureau. The National Central Bureau serves as a conduit for member countries. They share information and seek assistance in criminal investigations in their respective jurisdictions.
Requests for investigative assistance are often made through the INTERPOL network. The appropriate police of jurisdiction receives the request.
The RCMP operates Canada's National Central Bureau. National Central Bureau Ottawa is housed at RCMP National Headquarters, in Ottawa. It is comprised of:
- RCMP and seconded Canadian police officers
- public service employees
- civilian members
National Central Bureau Ottawa is responsible for receiving, evaluating and efficiently processing all requests for assistance from INTERPOL member countries. It operates 24/7.
Canada became a member of INTERPOL in 1949. It is an active contributor to the Organization. The RCMP seconds police officers to:
- the INTERPOL Secretariat General, in Lyon, France
- the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation, in Singapore
How INTERPOL assists Canadian investigators
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 19 various databases to conduct international checks on:
- criminal records
- vehicle identification numbers
- aircraft identification
- firearms identification
- the coordination and assistance in locating/extraditing foreign fugitives
- the issuance of INTERPOL Notices and diffusions to help locate fugitives, missing persons or to gather information on a subject
To seek arrest of a wanted person for whom an arrest warrant has been issued and where extradition will likely be requested.
An arrest warrant from another country has no legal status in Canada.
- To locate persons and collect information on identity or illegal activities in relation to a criminal matter (unidentified offenders, witnesses).
- 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).
- To locate missing persons.
- To identify human remains.
- Warns police, public institutions and other international organizations of dangerous materials, criminal acts or events that pose a potential threat to public safety.
- INTERPOL-United Nations Council Special Notice
- Issued for groups and individuals to alert national law enforcement authorities that they could be subject to sanctions through the freezing of assets, travel bans and arms embargoes.
Foreign Criminal Investigators in Canada
The purpose of the Foreign Criminal Investigators in Canada Protocol is to safeguard Canadian security, sovereignty and public interest. This is done while ensuring adherence to applicable Canadian policy and legislation, including:
- the Criminal Code of Canada
- the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- the Privacy Act
The Foreign Criminal Investigators in Canada Protocol is used when providing assistance to foreign law enforcement and prosecution agencies.
National Central Bureau Ottawa is the national policy centre for the administration of the Foreign Criminal Investigators in Canada Protocol. It has the delegated authority from Global Affairs Canada to approve all Foreign Criminal Investigators in Canada that result in criminal investigations.
The Foreign Criminal Investigators in Canada Protocol applies to:
- all Canadian federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal police or enforcement agencies assisting or collaborating with Foreign Criminal Investigators in Canada. This includes any agency having an investigative or enforcement mandate which may result in criminal proceedings such as:
- police services
- Canada Revenue Agency
- Natural Resources Canada
- Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada
- Employment and Social Development Canada
- and others
- all requests for approval from a foreign state to conduct a criminal investigation on Canadian soil that involves the active participation of foreign criminal investigators
- cases with or without a Canadian nexus, and Canadian or non-Canadian assets
- virtual investigative activities (that is, non-custodial interviews conducted over web-based applications)
The approval of a Foreign Criminal Investigators in Canada request does not grant foreign criminal investigators peace officer status in Canada.