Interpol has just concluded its annual Global Conference in Monaco in November 2014, a highlight event as it marks 100 years since the closed door meeting that originally founded the organisation.

In April 1914, amidst grand fanfare and ceremony, law enforcement professionals from Europe and elsewhere met in Monaco to talk about the state of their profession and what to do about it.

At the time of the Monaco conference, law enforcement was a domestic profession. If policemen found that their investigation, for whatever reason, required them to cross an international border, the only way to continue was to turn a police matter into a diplomatic affair. But at the dawn of the automotive and aviation age, diplomacy was clearly no longer a viable method of catching criminals. In the words of Monsieur Mouton, then-director of the French criminal police and delegate to the conference, “we will have to be able to go to England, to Spain, to everywhere….It will be necessary for us to be able to apprehend, or arrange for the apprehension of, an individual through our own means, without being troubled by the slowness of diplomatic formalities.”

While the Organisation international de la police criminelle, better known as Interpol, was not actually founded until 1923, in the intervening decades, true to the spirit of its founders, Interpol has revolutionised global policing and has become a critical part of global law enforcement. Its Command and Coordination Centres (CCCs) are staffed around the clock, ready to provide member countries with information and assistance whenever necessary. Interpol Red Notices, which are issued when an Interpol member country seeks a suspect’s apprehension and extradition, have led to the capture of notorious criminals including Carlos the Jackal. There are currently 190 members of Interpol, or only three fewer than there are in the United Nations, making it a truly global law enforcement network.

Interestingly, the challenges described that promoted the  Monaco conference are not dis-similar to those that inspired the creation of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.

The senior law enforcement professionals that made up the Global Initiative’s founding members identified the challenge presented by transnational organised crime to be unprecedented – requiring new tools, new approaches and greater levels of collaboration and trust than national law enforcement frameworks provide.  The role of the Global Initiative, for them, was to provide space outside of multi-lateral organisations to exchange experiences, build networks and identify urgent priorities for collaboration.

Strengthening international ties and building trust between all concerned parties, goals shared by Interpol and the Global Initiative, are crucial to dealing with modern-day policing challenges. The Global Initiative is proud to consider Interpol one of our key partners, and are pleased to congratulate Jürgen Stock, one of our Founding Members, on his appointment as Interpol’s next Secretary General.