Interpol, or International Criminal Police Organization, was established as The International Criminal Police Commission in 1923 to assist international criminal police cooperation. It adopted its telegraphic address in its name in 1956. It should not be confused with the International Police, which actually takes on an active uniformed role in policing war torn countries.
Interpol is the world's third largest international organization, after the United Nations and FIFA, with 186 member countries financed by annual contributions of about €41.7 million from its member countries. Europol, by comparison, receives €63.4 million annually. The organization is headquartered in Lyon, France after moving from Saint Cloud, a town near Paris. Jackie Selebi, National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, is serving as president. The current secretary general, Ronald K. Noble, formerly of the United States Treasury, is the first non-European to hold the position.
Because of the politically neutral role Interpol must play, its constitution forbids any involvement in crimes that do not overlap several member countries, or any political, military, religious, or racial crimes. Its work focuses primarily on public safety, terrorism, organized crime, war crimes, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, trafficking in human beings, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime, and corruption.