European Police Office | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Policing

The European Police Office, also known as Europol, is the European Union’s law enforcement agency.

Its main task is to assist EU member states in the fight against serious international organized crime and terrorism. It was established in 1998 and is based in The Hague, Netherlands.

Europol’s main functions include:

      • Collecting and analyzing information on organized crime and terrorism,
      • Supporting and coordinating investigations by national law enforcement agencies,
      • Providing operational and analytical support to EU member states and other partner countries,
      • Facilitating cooperation and information-sharing among EU member states and other partner countries,
      • Providing training and expert support to national law enforcement agencies,
      • Fostering cooperation between EU member states and other international organizations, such as Interpol.

Europol works closely with a wide range of partners, including national law enforcement agencies, other EU agencies, and international organizations such as Interpol. It also works closely with the private sector and civil society organizations.

The agency has no executive powers, it can’t carry out investigations or make arrests on its own, but it can provide its member states with operational and analytical support, as well as with access to its databases. It can only act on the information provided by its member states.

Europol is governed by the Europol Regulation, which defines the agency’s powers and responsibilities, as well as the rules for the exchange of information between Europol and national law enforcement authorities.

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Last Modified: 01/09/2023


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