Do INTERPOL Carry Guns?

It is an assumption by the public that INTERPOL has agents who can be deployed to make arrests. While INTERPOL may publish information claiming responsibility for certain arrests, it is good to know how INTERPOL works.

INTERPOL is an international organization that helps its member countries share information on transnational criminals. INTERPOL basically offers a framework for liaison among officers in member countries, enabling them to exchange instant messages and relevant police data.

Therefore, INTERPOL works closely with national authorities to ensure that they have the necessary information to capture criminals. INTERPOL does not make arrests or conduct any actions without the approval of authorities of member countries.

What Happens When a Country Needs Urgent Help from INTERPOL?

INTERPOL’s Command and Coordination Center (CCC) controls all the daily operations of INTERPOL. The CCC has three operations rooms based in Singapore, Lyon, and Buenos Aires (similar to INTERPOL red notice law firms London). The offices operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, enabling them to provide real-time support to police officers in member countries at all times. 

If the need arises, the INTERPOL can deploy specialized response teams when requested by the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) of the affected member country. The response teams fall into two categories:

  •  INTERPOL Incident Response Team (IRT)
  •  INTERPOL Major Event Support Team

INTERPOL Incident Response Team (IRT)

The IRT comprises a team of experts deployed by INTERPOL when requested by a member country in the event of a crisis. The IRT can be required to respond to crime or disaster.

IRTs respond to crime to help local police officers with investigative work. INTERPOL sends experts in explosives, biometrics and digital forensics and the data they collect will be compared against INTERPOL databases to identify suspects.

Disaster teams are usually deployed when events like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires happen. Natural disasters are typically unforeseen and usually hit when nobody is prepared. The IRTs are usually tasked with disaster victim identification.

First, the IRT examines the scene and conducts the recovery of victims and their property – it can take several days depending on the nature of the disaster. They then conduct a post-mortem examination, which involves forensics like fingerprints and DNA information.

INTERPOL Major Events Support Team (IMEST)

If a member country wants to host a major international event, they can request assistance from INTERPOL to send experts to help with setting up security structures. Such events attract large crowds and extensive media coverage.

Terrorists can also be attracted to these events so that they can get attention. INTERPOL sends IMEST to help with security checks and scrutiny of any suspicious documents. INTERPOL provides access to its databases which includes images of wanted persons, fingerprints, and stolen travel documents.

If a crisis situation arises during the event, IMEST team members can respond as IRTs. INTERPOL response team experts are trained in all the relevant fields.

So do INTERPOL Carry Guns?

No, INTERPOL employees are not armed. INTERPOL helps authorities in the member countries to identify criminals and conduct arrests. INTERPOL provides the real-time exchange of information among law enforcement officers and access to databases containing images, fingerprints, and travel documents of wanted people.

They can also give INTERPOL red notice removal advice if needed.

Kendall Coffey
Senior Partner
Mr. Coffey is a former U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Florida (1993-1996); and served as Chair of, the Southern District Conference, Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (April 2009 – January 2017).
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