No. Europol staff members do not carry firearms. Intelligence is our weapon.
Even when Europol staff members are deployed to operations on the ground they are unarmed. Instead, we carry laptops and other fancy electronic devices linked to databases with millions of criminal data entries. Since 2010, we’ve used these devices 1 527 times.
Europol’s Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA) is used to quickly exchange operational and strategic crime-related data in a secure way. Over one million SIENA messages were sent between Europol and Member States in 2017 alone.
Europol Information System (EIS) is used to store and query information about offences, offenders, suspects and other key crime-related data. In 2010, there were 147 345 EIS searches. In 2018, that number stands at over 4 million. In the same year, there were 213 023 persons and 1.3 million objects entered into the EIS. That’s a 600% and 750% increase respectively since 2010.
Safe to say we are kept quite busy!