Mains Articles

Interpol Red Notice: What is it? and what does it do? [Mains Article]

India has conveyed to Interpol Secretary-General Jurgen Stock that India would like the international police agency to expedite its process of publishing Red Notices (RNs).
By IT's Mains Articles Team
September 05, 2019


  • Introduction
  • What are Red Notices (RNs)?
  • What a RN contains?
  • IT’s Input
  • Number of Red Notices
  • Checks and balances
  • Importance of RNs
  • Conclusion

Interpol Red Notice: What is it? and what does it do?

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As many as 18 requests for Red Notices (RNs) from India are pending with Interpol, including against fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, a key accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam.

What are Red Notices (RNs)?

  • An RN alerts police forces across the world about fugitives who are wanted internationally.
  • Interpol describes an RN as “a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action”.
  • RN is for the criminals or suspects who often flee to other countries to evade facing justice.
  • An RN is published by ‘INTERPOL’ at the request of a member country. The country issuing the request need not be the home country of the fugitive; Interpol acts on the request of a country where the alleged crime has been committed.
  • A Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant. The Interpol cannot compel the law enforcement authorities in any country to arrest the subject of an RN.
  • It is up to individual member countries to decide what legal value to give to an RN, and the authority of their national law enforcement officers to make arrests.

What a RN contains?

  • It contains two main types of information:
  • Information to identify the wanted person, such as their name, date of birth, nationality, hair and eye colour, photographs and fingerprints if available.
  • Information related to the crime they are wanted for, which can typically be murder, rape, child abuse or armed robbery.

IT’s Input:


  • INTERPOL is the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) which is an inter-governmental organization. It commonly known as INTERPOL.
  • It was founded in 1923 as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC); the name INTERPOL served as the agency’s telegraphic address in 1946, and was chosen as its common name in 1956.
  • INTERPOL is headquartered in Lyon, France. It has 194 member countries.
  • The General Assembly is governing body and it brings all countries together once a year to take decisions.
  • India proposed to host Interpol’s General Assembly, in 2022, in New Delhi as part of the nation’s celebrations of the 75th Independence Day.


Some other Interpol notices:


  • Yellow Notice: This notice helps locate missing persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves.
  • This notice is issued with details of various body marks on the person to be identified.
  • Black Notice is issued by Interpol to seek information on unidentified bodies. Every year, close to 150 black notices are issued by the Interpol.
  • Green Notice is issued to provide warnings and intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offences and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries. Many serial sex offenders are recipients of such notices.
  • Orange Notice is issued to warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety. In a recent event, a “miracle diet pill” was issued an orange notice by Interpol, on request by French health authorities.
  • Interpol-United Nations Security Council Special Notice is issued for groups and individuals who are the targets of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees.
  • Purple Notice is issued to seek or provide information on modi operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals. This category aids Interpol’s efforts to tackle environmental criminals.

Number of Red Notices:

  • According to Interpol, 58,000 RNs are currently valid, of which around 7,000 are public.
  • Most RNs are restricted to law enforcement use
  • In cases where the help of the public is needed to locate an individual, or if those individuals pose a threat to public safety, a public extract of the RN is published on the Interpol’s website.
  • In 2018, Interpol issued 13,516 RNs.

Checks and balances:

  • Every Red Notice request is checked by a specialised task force to ensure it is compliant with (Interpol) rules.
  • An RN is issued only after a competent court has taken cognisance of a chargesheet against the fugitive. This shows that the RN must comply with its constitution and rules.

Importance of RNs:

  • It simultaneously alerts police in all member countries about internationally wanted fugitives.
  • An RN can help bring a fugitive to justice, sometimes many years after the crime was committed.
  • As an RN is not an arrest warrant, action against a fugitive frequently rests on the diplomatic clout that the country making the request has with the country where the fugitive is located.


  • It is observed that Nations with a big international profile, and economic or political heft, are often more successful than the rest in handling RNs.
  • The Red Notice may not necessarily lead to the extradition of a fugitive offender for which there is a separate legal process to be followed.
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