Ronald K. Noble
Secretary General 2000-2014
First elected on 3 November 2000 by INTERPOL’s General Assembly, Mr Noble became at the age of 44 the youngest Secretary General in INTERPOL’s history. Following a successful second mandate, he was re-elected by an overwhelming majority to serve a third five-year term in 2010. He stepped down from the post on 7 November 2014.
Development of enhanced technical tools for National Central Bureaus
The ability to communicate is fundamental to police work, especially at the international level. Under Mr Noble’s leadership, INTERPOL developed the I-24/7 secure global police communications network, the first of its kind in the world. The network enables National Central Bureaus in all member countries to communicate in real-time and to access INTERPOL’s tools and services. Recognizing a critical gap in border security efforts, Mr Noble spearheaded the creation of the only global database of stolen and lost travel documents and the MIND/FIND technical tools that put this and other INTERPOL databases directly into the hands of frontline officers. The Organization further boosted its investigative and forensic support to member countries through the development of global databases of suspected terrorists, DNA profiles and fingerprints.
Greater operational support in the face of 21st century crime challenges
Recent years have seen the scale of terrorism expand and many new Internet-facilitated crimes emerge. INTERPOL kept pace with these changes through the creation of the 24-hour Command and Coordination Centre and the deployment of more than 170 specialized teams to assist member countries dealing with terrorist incidents, urgent crises, large-scale events and identifying victims of disasters, notably the Asian tsunami. Operationally stronger, INTERPOL has conducted highly successful international operations targeting child sex abusers, dangerous fugitives and war criminals, and has supported major investigations into transnational organized crime groups.
As Secretary General, Mr Noble visited all 190 member countries to hear first-hand the concerns of Heads of NCBs as well as senior government and police officials. He oversaw a period of unprecedented growth at INTERPOL, with close to 90 nationalities represented at the General Secretariat and offices worldwide. The Organization also opened additional Regional Bureaus and liaison offices at the United Nations and the European Union, and pursued greater engagement with the African Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Commonwealth of Independent States, Organization of American States and other regional bodies. Mr Noble reinforced INTERPOL’s legal status and relevance to the United Nations through the creation of the Special Notice with the UN Security Council and a greater role for police in peacekeeping operations.
Strength in neutrality
Secretary General Noble demonstrated full commitment to adherence to INTERPOL’s constitution, in particular to Article 3, which forbids the Organization from undertaking any activity of a predominantly political, racial, religious or military nature. In recognition of the danger of shutting out any country in the fight against transnational crime, Mr Noble made sure all member countries were connected to INTERPOL’s global police communications network, including countries which were subject to international sanctions. Under his leadership, INTERPOL honoured the decision taken by its European member countries to hold their 2006 regional conference despite concerns and strong criticism from some countries. Based on its reputation for impartiality, INTERPOL was asked by a member country to provide comprehensive and transparent technical expertise in determining whether computers and hardware seized from a terrorist camp had been manipulated.
Preparing for the road ahead
Looking ahead, INTERPOL will continue to build on the foundation of the last 10 years to ensure that it is responsive to the needs of police in its member countries. It will endeavour to foster the wider operability and scope of its databases through innovations such as I-link to benefit more frontline officers in more locations. It will set the pace in document security innovation through the ongoing development of the INTERPOL Travel Document to facilitate the crucial work of its officials. Through more focused strategic planning, the Organization will continue to devise cutting-edge but cost-efficient solutions to today’s most pressing crime challenges. The creation of the INTERPOL Global Complex in Singapore – focusing on cybercrime, capacity building and advanced methods for identification of crimes and criminals – will put the Organization in a strong position to seize opportunities wherever they may exist.
Law enforcement experience and education
Prior to serving as INTERLPOL's Secretary General, Mr Noble oversaw four of the US’s then-eight-largest law enforcement agencies, including the US Secret Service, the US Customs Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division. He began his career in law enforcement as a federal prosecutor specializing in organized crime, drug trafficking, fraud and corruption cases. He obtained a 100 per cent conviction rate on cases that went to trial. Mr Noble is also a fully tenured Professor at New York University School of Law. He earned his Juris Doctorate degree from Stanford Law School and Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire, both in the USA. In addition to his native tongue, English, Mr Noble also speaks French, Spanish and German.