How Interpol Works

Interpol's Organization

Ronald K. Noble, Secretary General of Interpol
Ronald K. Noble, Secretary General of Interpol
Photo courtesy of Interpol

Interpol headquarters (called the General Secretariat) is located in Lyons, France. It is operational around the clock, 365 days a year. The General Assembly, made up of delegates from all the member countries, meets once each year. The assembly votes on all major Interpol decisions - resolutions are passed by a simple majority, with each member nation receiving a single vote. The General Assembly also elects the Executive Committee, a 13-member group that does administrative work. The Secretary General is the head of Interpol. Appointed by the General Assembly, each Secretary General serves for five years and runs Interpol's daily operations. The Secretary General is also in charge of implementing the decisions made by the General Assembly. As of 2007, the current Secretary General is Ronald K. Noble, an American who formerly worked in the U.S. Department of Treasury. He is serving his second term as Secretary General after being re-elected in 2005 [Source: Interpol-Governance, Interpol-General Assembly].

In addition to the main General Secretariat, there are six regional offices, plus the U.N. liaison office. They are located in Argentina, El Salvador, Thailand, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Zimbabwe and New York. The New York office is a special liaison within the United Nations.

Most of Interpol's funding comes from the member countries themselves, with each nation contributing a portion based on its size, gross domestic product and other factors. The 2007 Interpol budget was 44.7 million Euros (roughly $61.4 million U.S.) [Source: Interpol].