“Now will EU rob us of our police?” (Daily Mail, 2 April 2001, page 15)
A European Union police force is to be formed to be sent rapidly to international emergencies… The EU has decided to establish a pool of up to 5,000 officers, which will include hundreds from Britain… fuelling fears of a growing European superstate.
Europol, or European Police Office, was set up under the Maastricht Treaty of 1992. Its objective is to improve the effectiveness and co-operation of the law enforcement authorities in EU Member States in order to combat terrorism, unlawful drug trafficking and other forms of serious international organised crime. The main role of Europol is to support Member States in the exchange of information and intelligence. There are currently 242 staff members from all 15 EU Member States. Of these, 44 are Europol Liaison Officers representing police, customs and immigration services. Europol is accountable to the Council of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs.
Co-operation between the police forces and the customs authorities of EU member states is necessary because international crime, cross-border smuggling and trafficking in drugs, arms and people do not recognise national frontiers.