Red is the Notice

In the last few weeks, we have seen Interpol in the news in Inida, what with the 90th General Assembly of the organization having concluded just last week in New Delhi. The GA is the supreme governing body of the Interpol, and is made up of delegates appointed by the governments of the member countries. It is the top decision-making body of the organziation.

But to take a step back, what is Interpol itself?

Well, Interpol is the International Criminal Police Organization. It is an inter-governmental organization with 195 member countries. The idea is to help police in all the countries work together. They do this by connecting all the member countries via a secure communications system called I-24/7. Members can use this network to contact each other, and the Interpol Secretariat. They can also access Interpol databases and services. The agency also coordinates networks of police and experts in different crime areas, and facilitates their coming together through working groups and at conferences to share experiences and ideas.

Most of us usually hear the term INTERPOL in connection with Red Notices. These are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information. Though we most often hear about Red Notices, notices come in a rainbow of colours.

The best known Red Notice is about wanted people and is a request to seek the location and arrest of persons wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence. These are by far the commonest and there are currently about 70,000 valid ones out. Within Red Notices, there is a specific type of criminal notice for fugitives wanted for environmental crimes put out on the occasion of World Environment Day. There are seven people in this list including people wanted for smuggling protected species and their derived products; illicitly dealing in wildlife trophies and organized criminal activity; and illegal logging in a protected forest.

Next in numbers but far behind are Blue Notices which seek to collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a criminal investigation. There are about 15,000 such notices out currently.              

Yellow and Green Notices follow with about 12.500 currently valid ones in each category. Yellow Notices are about missing people and seek help to locate such persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves. Green Notices are warnings and intelligence about a person’s criminal activities, where the person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety.

Black Notices seek information on unidentified bodies, while Purple Notices seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals. There are between 1000-2000 of each.

Orange Notices are the fewest in numbers, just a few hundreds. They are about imminent threat, and seek to warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.

Apart from this, there is the INTERPOL–United Nations Security Council Special Notice which is issued for entities and individuals who are the targets of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees.

When I glanced through the list of most wanted Red Notices, what I found most disturbing was that many of the persons listed are under 30 years of age, with some as young as 19. The list also had a 74 year old woman. And in the quick browse, it seemed to me that most of the listed people were from South America. So do these countries resort to asking for Red Notices more often? Or do their requests get accepted faster?

Who knows? But for sure, when I see something in media about Interpol Notices, I will take more notice now!


Based on:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s