New working arrangement between NCA and Europol

NCA Director General Dame Lynne Owens and Europol executive director Catherine De Bolle have signed a working arrangement between the two law enforcement agencies that will sit under the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

Sep 30, 2021
By Tony Thompson

Since the beginning of the year, operational cooperation between UK law enforcement agencies and EU Member States via Europol has continued effectively and without interruption.

The new Working and Administrative Arrangement (WAA), which complements and implements the TCA by providing further clarity on how cooperation should be undertaken at operational level, will ensure this continues.

Shared capabilities protected under the TCA, and now also the new arrangement, include the presence of UK/NCA liaison officers based in Europol headquarters, access to Europol’s secure messaging system, the ability to attend and organise operational and other meetings at Europol, the ability to contribute to Europol analysis projects in order to benefit from the agency’s coordination and analytical functions, and the fast and effective exchange of data.

In the past nine months, the continued working relationship between the NCA and EU partners via Europol has resulted in:

  • The takedown of both the Emotet malware and the DoubleVPN cybercrime service;
  • The arrest of a man wanted by Belgium authorities in connection with the smuggling of 39 migrants found dead in a lorry in Essex in October 2019;
  • The capture of six fugitives wanted in Romania, Hungary and Lithuania for offences linked to modern slavery, human trafficking and people smuggling.

Dame Lynne: “This arrangement with Europol supports our continued work to tackle the full range of crime threats facing the UK and our European neighbours.

“We are relentlessly focused on tackling serious and organised criminals, including those who abuse children, who fuel violence through trafficking drugs and firearms, who steal money and information through fraud and cyber crime, and those behind the people smuggling which risks the lives of migrants for profit.

“The TCA, and our arrangement with Europol, reflects the scale of the NCA’s contribution in protecting the UK from serious and organised crime, and we look forward to continued collaborative working with our EU law enforcement partners.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Keeping the public safe remains the Government’s top priority. This arrangement builds on the security measures we negotiated with the EU in our Trade and Cooperation Agreement last year. It will ensure we can continue effective cooperation with our partners, both to protect the public from serious organised crime and bring criminals to justice.”

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