Interpol, acronym for the International Criminal Police Organization, a worldwide clearinghouse for police information. Conceived in 1914, Interpol was formally established in 1923 with headquarters at Vienna. In 1938, it was effectively disbanded by Hitler's Anschluss of Austria. After World War II, the agency was reconstituted (1946) with headquarters in Paris. Its principal services are to provide its 188 member nations with information on the whereabouts of international criminals, to organize seminars on scientific crime detection, and to facilitate the apprehension of criminals. It does not apprehend criminals directly; Interpol has no officials who do policing or criminal investigative work. The organization claims to avoid those crimes that deal with political, military, religious, or racial matters. Interpol has been most successful with regard to counterfeiting, forgery, smuggling, and the narcotics trade.
See studies by M. Anderson (1989) and M. Fooner (1989).