Europol does not conduct operations in any country. It exists to support investigations carried out by law enforcement authorities in the member states by facilitating the exchange of information and collating and analysing information and intelligence in relation to those investigations.
The United Kingdom is a significant participant in all intelligence aspects of Europol. Our liaison bureau at Europol, which is one of the largest, is responsible for handling the exchange of information between Europol and the United Kingdom Europol National Unit, which is based at the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. The UK liaison bureau also manages bilateral exchanges and cooperation between other member state liaison bureaux. The United Kingdom has a record of providing high quality data to the Europol Information System and is a major contributor to Europol’s programme of ‘serious crime analysis work files’.
Europol was established by a convention based on article K.3 of the treaty on European Union. It does not carry out criminal investigations in its own right but operates to improve the effectiveness and co-operation of the competent authorities in the member states in preventing and combating terrorism and other forms of serious crime. Specifically, Europol’s competence covers illegal money laundering activity, and preventing and combating terrorism, drug trafficking and other serious forms of international crime when there are indications that an organised criminal structure is at work and when two or more member states are affected by the criminality in question in such a way as to require a common approach by the member states involved.