What is an INTERPOL Red Notice?INTERPOL Red Notice

The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) provides a shared database and communication channel for police forces from member countries. This international cooperation allows for the circulation of information about wanted persons.

A Red Notice is an electronic alert published by INTERPOL which alerts police worldwide that a person is wanted for arrest in another county.

It seeks the detention, arrest or general restriction of movement of a wanted person, and is often used to detain a person for extradition.


Issuing a Red Notice

Generally, a Red Notice is issued at the request of a National Central Bureau (NCB), which is the outward-facing branch of a country’s law enforcement that liaises with INTERPOL. To obtain a Red Notice, an authorised arrest warrant must have been issued under the laws of the requesting state.

A Red Notice contains two main types of information:

  • Information to identify the wanted person, such as their name, date of birth, and nationality.
  • Information related to the crime for which they are wanted.

There are other criteria which must be met before a Red Notice is issued by INTERPOL, including those set out in INTERPOL’s Rules on the Processing of Data (2012).


Red Notice Abuse

Whilst serving as a valuable law enforcement tool in combatting serious crime and terrorism, Red Notices can be subject to abuse.

INTERPOL Red Notices may be abused in a variety of ways including:

  • Political abuse: For example, issued against exiled political activists or foreign asylum seekers.
  • Corruption: This includes the issue of Red Notices for revenge, whether relating to personal or corporate matters.
  • Failure to seek extradition: By issuing what is in effect a malicious Red Notice with consequential impacts on the “wanted” person, but without any attempt to bring them back to the issuing country if they are located.

If a Red Notice is abused, this may form an appropriate ground to request its removal.


Removing an INTERPOL Red Notice

There are three common ways of challenging Red Notices:

  1. Requesting that the issuing country remove the information provided to INTERPOL supporting the Red Notice.
  2. Requesting that the authorities of the country in which the subject resides delete the information.
  3. Writing to the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s files and requesting the deletion of the Red Notice.

You should seek advice from a qualified legal professional before attempting any of these steps.


What other types of Notice are issued by INTERPOL?

While Red Notices are the most frequent type of notice issued, INTERPOL issues a range of different Notices depending on the intended purpose.

  • Blue Notice – used to locate, identify or obtain information on a person of interest in a criminal investigation.
  • Green Notice – used to warn about a person’s criminal activities if that person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety.
  • Yellow Notice – used to locate a missing person or to identify a person unable to identify himself/herself.
  • Black Notice – used to seek information on unidentified bodies.
  • Orange Notice – used to warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing an imminent threat and danger to persons or property.
  • Purple Notice – used to provide information on modi operandi, procedures, objects, devices or hiding places used by criminals.
  • United Nations Security Council Special Notice – used to inform INTERPOL’s members that an individual or an entity is subject to UN sanctions.
  • Diffusions – similar to the Notice, a diffusion is issued for the same purposes as notices but sent directly by a member country or an international entity to the countries of their choice. Diffusions are also recorded in INTERPOL’s police databases.

Comparatively, the intended purpose of the Red Notice is to detain a person for extradition.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is a red notice an international arrest warrant?

Though frequently referred to as an “international arrest warrant”, a Red Notice is not actually a formal warrant. Rather, a Red Notice sends an international signal that a person is wanted for arrest in a particular country.

Who is the Australian INTERPOL contact point?

The Australian INTERPOL contact point is known as the National Central Bureau (NCB) and is hosted by the Australian Federal Police in Canberra.

Can I be arrested in Australia because of an INTERPOL Red Notice?

Australia cannot arrest a person on the basis of an INTERPOL red notice alone.  The arrest powers of Australian police do not enable them to act on a Red Notice; they can only arrest a person for an offence against Australian law.

A country must seek to have the person arrested and extradited through the extradition process, a “provisional arrest request”, or where Australia has decided to accept a formal extradition request and has arranged for a magistrate to issue an arrest warrant.

How can we help?

We provide expert advice and representation in INTERPOL-related criminal investigations, including having Red Notices and other INTERPOL Notices successfully removed.

Contact us if you require assistance.

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