SCOTLAND YARD’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin has warned that the UK could lose access to European databases used to track criminals and terrorists.
DAC Martin warned that the UK’s police coordination with Europe could become “more bureaucratic, slower, and complex” in the event of a “worst-case scenario” that could stem from a no-deal Brexit.
When a British police officer checks a suspect or vehicle on the national databases, it automatically connects to the Schengen Information System (SIS II) of other EU states to see if they are wanted overseas. The Prum system is another useful database, providing British officers with a search engine to find DNA samples from crime scenes and suspects across the continent.
The SIS II system was used 603 million times in 2019 by 43 forces across the EU’s member states, and DAC Martin has said that losing access to it could benefit European criminals operating in the UK and British fugitives on the continent.
“It will definitely be less smooth, more complex, more clunky, and we won’t have the same capability that we have now,” said the senior officer, “If, for instance, a foreign national has committed a burglary over here and left some DNA, we can immediately make that exchange, identify them as a suspect and take action”.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says that Britain will try to retain access to some EU databases after Brexit as part of a “common-sense cooperation” with the bloc. The UK has established an International Crime Coordination Centre alongside a specialist extraction unit in preparation for Brexit, to prevent the UK from becoming a haven for European criminals and to stop British fugitives from escaping to the continent.
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