This is a comment on Interpol's 83rd General Assembly in Monaco in November 2014, which took place under the theme of "Turn Back Crime: 100 Years of International Police Cooperation." A more detailed analysis of the history of Interpol and the misrepresentations thereof in later writings is in order, but this note can be helpful.
From November 3 to 7, 2014, Interpol holds its 83rd General Assembly in Monaco on the theme of "Turn Back Crime: 100 Years of International Police Cooperation." Coinciding with the meeting, the organization also celebrates what its leadership calls the “centenary” of “100 Years of International Police Cooperation”. This slogan recalls that an international meeting was held in Monaco in 1914.
Sadly, the historical truth is different and does not warrant this claim of a one-century old Interpol, an organization that was founded in 1923. It also does not make historical sense to refer to the "idea" of international police cooperation as being one century old this year, because relevant developments to foster international police cooperation began to take shape from at least the latter half of the 19th century onwards.
It is therefore not only historically mistaken for the current leadership of Interpol to misrepresent a critical chapter in the organization’s history. It is also baffling that the organization is denying the important contributions that its original founders made some 91 years ago in Vienna. The erroneous labeling of the Monaco Congress of 1914 as the original site of the idea of international police cooperation and the invalid designation “100 Years of International Police Cooperation” for Interpol in 2014 is a denial of the proud and necessary ideals Interpol itself has from the start been committed to. It is an embarrassment that these facts are misrepresented by the current leadership of Interpol.
- Deflem, Mathieu. 2000. “Bureaucratization and Social Control: Historical Foundations of International Policing.” Law & Society Review 34(3):601-640.
- Deflem, M. (2002) Policing World Society: Historical Foundations of International Police Cooperation. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
See my related publications on the history of Interpol and international police cooperation.