Amber Rudd also said Britain could take its data away from the police and security cooperation organisation unless there was a deal.
Asked if the UK would come out of Europol on Sky News, she said: "Not at the moment, that hasn't been agreed.
"What we need to do is have a relationship with Europol that allows us equal access, for instance the Americans have access to Europol, they don't have the same depth as we have in it.
"We need to have an agreement with Europol to make sure that we continue to contribute and we continue to take out."
Pressed on whether the UK would not be a member of Europol, she said: "That is likely to be the outcome, yes, but it is too early to say exactly how those agreements will pan out."
She added: "We are the largest contributor to Europol, so if we left Europol then we would take our information, this is in the legislation, with us.
"The fact is the European partners want us to keep our information in there, because we keep other European countries safe as well. This isn't a huge contentious issue."
Ms Rudd insisted there was "no threat" to the EU on security cooperation and insisted the Prime Minister was not linking an economic deal to crime-fighting measures.
"It's the same paragraph but it's not in the same sentence," she said.
Prime Minister Theresa May said she was convinced Britain's new relationship with the EU "can have the same benefits in terms of that free access to trade."
Asked whether the UK would stay a member of Europol after Brexit, the Prime Minister told the BBC's Andrew Neil: "I think security co-operation in a number of crime and justice matters is important for us.
"It's not just Europol, there are some other things, there are systems about exchanging information about people crossing borders, for example, which I think are valuable: valuable to us, and valuable to the other countries in the EU...
"I would like to be able to maintain the degree of co-operation on these matters that we have currently."
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies