In this edition of U talk, Gaetano Notari asks: “What duties and operations does the European police agency Europol carry out in fighting cross-border crime?”
Europol Officer Benoit Godart responds:
Europol is responsible for preventing and combating organised crime and terrorism.
For this, the agency is equipped with human resources, legal means, and technical and financial tools. These make possible cooperation among the EU member states’ various agencies and services for repression, as well as those of Europol partners.
Europol conducts and supports pan-European investigations which are developed by countries’ repression services.
To give one notable example, I can think of an operation called “Rescue”, which led to saving children who had been victims of sexual abuse within the scope of a vast network.
Other operations also come to mind that were conclusive in fighting currency counterfeiting, notably the making of false euros. Then there is also Europol’s capacity as a central hub with a global reach which permits it to gather information from all over the world.
Within the current state of legal frameworks that govern our activities, Europol does not have coercive power to act in the way you refer to a traditional police service. And yet this agency has at its disposal significant means of criminal analysis. This is made available to support common investigative teams, to develop mutual assistance and police cooperation, from the moment operations concerning several countries converge.
Europol today has around 650 officers from 27 member states. This includes a large portion of analysts who collect and group information for further processing, and this work is fundamental in carrying out their mission.