Keeping Europe safe
Europol is the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation. Its main objective is to make Europe a safer place for citizens by assisting law enforcement authorities in the European Union’s 27 member states. Europol does this by facilitating cooperation between the competent authorities of the member states to prevent and combat terrorism and serious organised crime.
Europol’s current Executive Director is Catherine De Bolle, who was appointed by the Council of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs. She assumed the post in May 2018.
The agency operates in partnership with law enforcement agencies, academia and the private sector in countries both inside and outside of the EU. Member states and non-EU countries with which Europol concluded agreements are represented at Europol by at least one liaison officer.
Europol roots date back to the establishment of the EU drugs unit in 1993. It became an EU agency in 2010. Over time, the agency has grown to become the central hub for criminal information in the EU. Located in the international area in The Hague, Europol’s headquarters hosts over 1000 employees and liaison officers.
Europol is able to support national agencies’ investigations on a daily basis thanks to its network of trained criminal analysts and the use of state-of-the-art technology.
Europol’s operational activities focus on numerous crime areas, including:
- illicit drugs
- trafficking in human beings
- facilitated illegal immigration
- intellectual property crime
- euro counterfeiting
- VAT fraud
- money laundering and asset tracing
- mobile organised-crime groups
Europol organises major international events such as the Europol-INTERPOL Cybercrime Conference and the European Police Chief Convention (EPCC) – an annual event that brings together police chiefs and high-level representatives from the EU and beyond, to discuss current and emerging criminal threats, challenges and opportunities.