More than 1000 staff at Europol headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, works closely with law enforcement agencies in the 28 EU Member States and in other non-EU partner states such as Australia, Canada, the USA and Norway.
The agency uses its unique information capabilities and the expertise of its staff to identify and track the most dangerous criminal and terrorist networks in Europe. Law enforcement authorities in the EU rely on this intelligence work and the services of Europol’s operational coordination centre and secure information network, to carry out over 18 000 cross–border investigations each year. These have led to the disruption of many criminal and terrorist networks, to the arrest of thousands of dangerous criminals, to the recovery of millions of euro in criminal proceeds, and to the recovery from harm of hundreds of victims, including children trafficked for sexual exploitation. Europol also acts as a major centre of expertise in key fields of law enforcement activity and as a European centre for strategic intelligence on organised crime.
Europol officers have no direct powers of arrest but support EU law enforcement colleagues by gathering, analysing and disseminating information and coordinating operations. Our partners use the input to prevent, detect and investigate offences, and to track down and prosecute those who commit them. Europol experts and analysts take part in Joint Investigation Teams which help solve criminal cases on the spot in EU countries.
Europol personnel come from different kinds of law enforcement agencies, including regular police, border police, customs and security services. This multi-agency approach helps to close information gaps and minimise the space in which criminals can operate.
Currently 185 Europol Liaison Officers (ELOs) are based at Europol headquarters. These ELOs are seconded to Europol by the EU Member States and our non-EU partners. They guarantee fast and effective cooperation based on personal contact and mutual trust.