International police cooperation

The member states of the European Union (EU) work together to prevent and combat terrorism, the illegal trade in drugs and other serious forms of international organised crime.


Europol allows police forces throughout the EU to exchange information. Europol collects criminal intelligence and analyses it in the interests of preventing and combating organised crime. Europol stores the information in a registration system and, in doing so, abides by strict rules for protecting human rights. Europol has no operational or investigative powers and does not carry out investigations independently. Its main task is to facilitate information-sharing between countries.

Joint Investigation Team

When the police are investigating a crime committed abroad or involving people living abroad, they can set up a Joint Investigation Team (JIT). This is done by means of an agreement signed by a public prosecutor, stating which countries are involved, as well as the aim and duration of the investigation. Crime does not stop at international borders, so JITs are now being set up more frequently than in the past.

Requests for legal assistance

If in the course of an investigation a question arises which can only be answered in another country, a request for mutual assistance in criminal matters will be submitted to that country. The request may be for information, for a witness or other person to be interviewed, or for observation or arrest of suspects. Requests for legal assistance must be met within a certain time limit.

National and international lists of wanted persons

Suspects who are urgently sought by the police are put on a list of wanted persons. The national list of wanted persons can be found on the website of the Dutch police. Interpol manages the international list of wanted persons.

Cross-border pursuit

In the past, the police were required to abandon the pursuit of a suspect at the border. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. Officers must, however, inform neighbouring countries that they are pursuing a suspect in that country’s territory. This is done via the police control room. Police officers from the host country will assist in the pursuit.

The laws of the host country apply in cross-border police operations. Dutch police officers need to know what they are and are not allowed to do in other countries. This is addressed during police training and within the police units.