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An Interpol notice is an international alert used by police to communicate information about crimes, criminals and threats to their counterparts around the world. They are circulated by Interpol to all member states at the request of a member or an authorised international entity. The information disseminated via notices concerns individuals wanted for serious crimes, missing persons, unidentified bodies, possible threats, prison escapes and criminals’ modi operandi.
There are seven types, color-coded by their function: red, blue, green, yellow, black, orange, and purple. The most well-known notice is the Red Notice which is "the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today."
Interpol publishes notices either on its own initiative, or based on requests from its member states' National Central Bureaus (NCBs) or authorised international entities such as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. All notices are published on Interpol's secure website and extracts of notices may also be published on Interpol's public website if the requesting entity agrees.
Interpol can only publish a notice that adheres to all the proper legal conditions. For example, a notice will not be published if it violates Interpol's constitution, which forbids the organisation from undertaking activities of a political, military, religious or racial character. Interpol can refuse to publish a notice that it considers unadvisable or a potential risk.
|Red Notice||To seek the location and arrest of a person wanted by a judicial jurisdiction or an international tribunal with a view to his/her extradition.|
|Blue Notice||To locate, identify or obtain information on a person of interest in a criminal investigation.|
|Green Notice||To warn about a person’s criminal activities if that person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety.|
|Yellow Notice||To locate a missing person or to identify a person unable to identify himself/herself.|
|Black Notice||To seek information on unidentified bodies.|
|Orange Notice||To warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing an imminent threat and danger to persons or property.|
|Purple Notice||To provide information on modus operandi, procedures, objects, devices or hiding places used by criminals.|
|Interpol-United Nations Security Council Special Notice||To inform Interpol’s members that an individual or an entity is subject to UN sanctions.|
Similar to the Notice is another request for cooperation or alert mechanism known as a 'diffusion'. This is less formal than a notice but is also used to request the arrest or location of an individual or additional information in relation to a police investigation. A diffusion is circulated directly by a member states or international entity to the countries of their choice, or to the entire Interpol membership and is simultaneously recorded in Interpol’s databases.
The International Notice system was created in 1946 as Interpol re-established itself after World War II in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Cloud. It initially consisted of six colour coded notices; red, blue, green, yellow, black and purple. In 2004 the seventh colour was added; orange.
In 2005 the Interpol-United Nations Security Council Special Notice was created at the request of the UN Security Council through Resolution 1617 to provide better tools to help the Security Council carry out its mandate regarding the freezing of assets, travel bans and arms embargoes aimed at individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and was adopted by Interpol at its 74th General Assembly in Berlin in September 2005.
Interpol published approximately 26,500 notices and diffusions in 2011:
There were 40,836 notices and 48,310 diffusions in circulation at the end of 2011, and 7,958 people were arrested on the basis of a notice or diffusion during 2011.
Interpol published approximately 32,750 notices and diffusions in 2012:
There were 46,994 notices and 66,614 diffusions in circulation at the end of 2012.