By Michel QULLÉ, Deputy Director Operations, Europol, The Hague.
First of all, I would like to say that I am honoured and proud to contribute to the first issue of Diplomatic Magazine in the Netherlands. In fact, it is a result of my first encounter with Charge d’affaires a.i. of the Dominican Republic Embassy in The Hague, Dr. Eugenio Matos G (Diplomat Magazine Associate Publisher) during a welcome reception offered by Her Majesty, Queen Beatrix on 16 January, 2013 at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.
Europol, our organisation located in The Hague, maintains close links with the international community of the city, in the broader sense but also with its citizens. Despite this location, our organisation should be better known by the Dutch citizens. It is for us a good opportunity to increase our visibility in the Netherlands.
Europol (777 staff) is the law enforcement agency of the European Union. Our aim is to help achieve a safer Europe by supporting the law enforcement agencies of European Union Member States in their fight against international serious crime and terrorism.
More than 700 staff at Europol headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, work closely with law enforcement agencies in the 27 European Union Member States and in other non-EU partner states such as Australia, Canada, the USA, Norway and Colombia.
As Europol officers have no direct powers of arrest, we support 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.
Some 130 Europol Liaison Officers 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.