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Interpol vs. Europol: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on January 31, 2024
Interpol is a global police organization facilitating international police cooperation, while Europol is a European Union agency focusing on law enforcement cooperation within EU member states.

Key Differences

Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, facilitates worldwide police cooperation with 194 member countries. Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, specifically serves the EU's 27 member states.
Interpol, established in 1923, aims to enable police forces around the world to work together to combat transnational crime. Europol, founded in 1999, focuses on improving EU member states' cooperation against serious international crime and terrorism.
Interpol does not have its own police officers but provides a range of services and databases to support member countries. Europol, while also not having its own officers, supports EU member states by gathering, analyzing, and disseminating criminal intelligence.
Interpol’s jurisdiction is global, facilitating cross-border criminal intelligence sharing and issuing notices. Europol's jurisdiction is limited to the EU, and it mainly acts as a hub for criminal intelligence on organized crime and terrorism within the EU.
Interpol covers a wide range of criminal activities including cybercrime, drug trafficking, and terrorism. Europol has a more focused scope, dealing primarily with organized crime, trafficking, and terrorism within the EU context.

Comparison Chart


194 member countries globally
27 European Union member states



Main Purpose

Facilitate international police cooperation
Enhance law enforcement cooperation in the EU

Operational Role

Supports with services and databases, no officers
Analyzes and disseminates intelligence, no officers


Wide range of transnational crimes
Primarily organized crime, trafficking, terrorism in the EU

Interpol and Europol Definitions


Provides criminal databases and communication networks.
Police accessed Interpol's database for information.


Provides support to EU member states' law enforcement.
National police worked with Europol on the investigation.


Assists in tracking international criminals.
Interpol played a key role in apprehending the suspect abroad.


Focuses on criminal intelligence within the EU.
Europol's intelligence led to the disruption of a trafficking ring.


Facilitates cross-border police cooperation.
Interpol coordinated the multinational drug bust.


A European Union law enforcement agency.
Europol facilitated joint operations against cybercrime in the EU.


Issues international notices for criminals.
An Interpol notice was crucial in the arrest.


Aids in combating organized crime and terrorism.
Europol's analysis was vital in preventing a terrorist attack.


An international police organization.
Interpol issued a red notice for the fugitive.


Coordinates operations against serious crimes.
Europol coordinated a Europe-wide anti-drug operation.


An international intelligence agency permitting collaboration among intelligence agencies around the world


Police organization for the European Union; aims to improve effectiveness and cooperation among European police forces


Can Interpol make arrests?

No, Interpol does not have arrest powers; it facilitates cooperation between national police forces.

Which countries are covered by Europol?

Europol covers the 27 member states of the European Union.

How many countries are members of Interpol?

Interpol has 194 member countries.

What is Interpol?

Interpol is an international organization facilitating police cooperation across countries.

When was Interpol founded?

Interpol was established in 1923.

What kind of support does Europol provide?

Europol provides analytical support, criminal intelligence gathering, and coordination for joint operations.

How does Europol aid in counter-terrorism?

Europol aids by analyzing intelligence, coordinating between member states, and providing expertise.

What is Europol?

Europol is an EU agency focusing on law enforcement cooperation within Europe.

Can Interpol issue international arrest warrants?

Interpol issues "red notices" which are requests to locate and provisionally arrest individuals pending extradition.

What kind of crimes does Interpol focus on?

Interpol focuses on a wide range of transnational crimes like cybercrime, terrorism, and drug trafficking.

Can the public access Interpol's databases?

No, Interpol's databases are accessible only to authorized law enforcement agencies.

What is an Interpol Red Notice?

An Interpol Red Notice is a request to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition.

Does Interpol work with non-member countries?

Interpol cooperates with international organizations and can work with non-member countries on a case-by-case basis.

Does Europol have its own police officers?

No, Europol supports EU member states' law enforcement but doesn't have its own officers.

What is the main focus of Europol?

Europol primarily deals with organized crime, trafficking, and terrorism within the EU.

When was Europol established?

Europol was founded in 1999.

How does Interpol assist in international cases?

Interpol assists by providing databases, communication channels, and issuing notices.

Is Europol involved in border control?

Europol works on cross-border criminal activities but border control is primarily managed by Frontex, another EU agency.

How does Europol collaborate with non-EU countries?

Europol collaborates through operational agreements with non-EU countries for joint efforts against crime.

Does Europol handle cybersecurity?

Yes, Europol addresses cybercrime through its European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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