U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

International Police Cooperation Against Terrorism: Interpol and Europol in Comparison (From Understanding and Responding to Terrorism, P 17-25, 2007, Huseyin Durmaz, Bilal Sevinc, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-224814)

NCJ Number
Mathieu Deflem
Date Published
9 pages
This paper analyzes and compares recent counterterrorism efforts undertaken by Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization) and by Europol (the European Police Office).
Each organization has a distinctive model of international police cooperation against terrorism, with its own problems and prospects for effective police cooperation in countering international terrorism. Interpol is not a supranational policy agency with investigative powers, nor an organization sanctioned by an international governing body such as the United Nations. It is a cooperative network, independently created among police agencies in order to structure collaboration and assist in police work across national boundaries. Toward this end, Interpol links a central headquarters in Lyon, France, with specialized bureaus, i.e., National Central Bureaus, in the countries of participating police agencies (184 member countries). For several decades, Interpol has passed various resolutions related to counterterrorism. Cooperation among national police agencies engaged in counterterrorism occurs despite differences among member countries in political, legal, cultural, and distinctive national counterterrorism strategies. Europol, on the other hand, emerged under the structure and mandates of the European Union (EU). In 1997, a counterterrorism preparatory group was created to determine Europol’s role in counterterrorism, and the Amsterdam Treaty approved an extension of Europol’s mandate to include counterterrorism. Since January 1, 2002, Europol’s mandate has been expanded to deal with all serious forms of international crime. In November 2001, a specialized counterterrorism unit, the Counter-Terrorism Task Force was established at Europol headquarters. A year later, the Task Force was incorporated into Europol’s Serious Crime Department, but after the terrorist bombings in Madrid on March 11, 2004, it was re-established as a separate entity. Although Europol is formally mandated by the EU and overseen by the regulatory bodies of the EU, the organization is also dependent on the police agencies of EU member states.