European Police Office (Europol) - (Decentralised Agencies)



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Decentralised Agencies

Decentralised agencies contribute to the implementation of EU policies. They also support cooperation between the EU and national governments by pooling technical and specialist expertise from both the EU institutions and national authorities. Decentralised agencies are set up for an indefinite period and are located across the EU.


European Police Office (Europol)



  • Role: Europol helps national law enforcement authorities fight serious international crime and terrorism.
  • Director: Catherine De Bolle
  • Established in: 1999
  • Number of staff: 900+
  • Location: The Hague (Netherlands)
  • Website: Europol

The European Police Office (Europol) is the EU’s law enforcement agency, whose remit is to help make Europe safer by assisting law enforcement authorities in EU member countries.


What it does

Benefiting from its central position in the European security architecture, Europol offers a unique range of services:

  • support for law enforcement operations on the ground
  • a hub for information on criminal activities
  • a centre of law enforcement expertise.

Europol employs some 100 criminal analysts who are among the best-trained in Europe. This gives it one of the largest concentrations of analytical capability in the EU. Analysts use state-of-the-art tools to support national agencies' investigations on a daily basis.

To give national partners a deeper insight into the criminal problems they face, Europol produces regular long-term analyses of crime and terrorism.



Europol is headed by a Director, who is Europol’s legal representative and appointed by the EU Council.

Europol’s Management Board gives strategic guidance and oversees the implementation of Europol’s tasks. It comprises one high-ranking representative from each EU country and the European Commission.

Each country has a Europol National Unit, which is the liaison body between Europol and the other national agencies.


How it works

Europol’s daily business is based on its strategy. Its specific objectives are set out in the Europol annual work programme.

In 2010, the EU established a multi-annual policy cycle to ensure effective cooperation between national law enforcement agencies and other bodies (EU and elsewhere) on serious international and organised crime.

This cooperation is based on Europol’s Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA).


Who benefits

  • Law enforcement agencies, who get 24/7 operational support.
  • Government departments and private companies working in partnership with Europol.
  • EU Member States, supported in their investigations, operational activities and projects to tackle criminal threats.


See also


Press releases


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