April 19. 2024. 7:48

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UK-EU police cooperation could end without trade agreement update

If the UK government does not align with the EU’s ‘Prüm II’ proposals, the UK-EU cooperation on cross-border policing could end, meaning UK police would be locked out of EU-wide databases.

Cooperation on cross-border policing could end if proposed changes to EU rules on police database information sharing enter into force without a deal to update the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, according to a press release from the UK European Scrutiny Committee.

Since leaving the EU, the UK has remained aligned with the EU on police cooperation through its trade agreement.

The Prüm framework for automated data exchange allows member states to query DNA, dactyloscopy, and vehicle registration data in one or several other member states’ national databases.

The Prüm II proposal would add new categories of data, such as facial images of suspects and convicted criminals and police records, to the automated data exchange. It also provides for central routers to which national databases could connect, thus replacing multiple connections between these databases.

If the UK government does not align with the Prüm II proposals, UK police could be locked out of those databases and blocked from accessing critical biometric information on criminals operating in Europe, the European Scrutiny Committee has said, adding that it could have “significant consequences” for the Government’s ability to target organised crime working across borders.

European Scrutiny Committee Chairman Sir William Cash MP wrote a letter to Security Minister Tom Tugendhat MP, requesting he clarifies how the Government intends to respond to the Prüm 2 proposals and whether the status quo of cooperation remains an option.

Cash asked him to confirm “that you will publish a full impact assessment setting out the benefits and costs of UK participation in any enhanced Prüm arrangements” before the government decides on participation.

EURACTIV contacted Europol for a comment but did not hear back before publication.

(Sofia Stuart Leeson | EURACTIV.com)