Europol has been established since 1995.
The primary purpose of the Europol Act 2012 is to give effect to a 2009 EU Council Decision establishing Europol.
The Act provides that Europol can now act on serious offences without the need for an organised criminal structure to be involved.
These offences, listed in the Annex to the Act, include the main transnational crimes such as drug trafficking, terrorism and money laundering. Murder and kidnapping are also included.