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In a little noticed report published last week, biometrics commissioner Paul Wiles said losing access to EU mechanisms to exchange suspects, criminal records, fingerprints and DNA data would be “detrimental” and pose “risks” to UK law enforcement.
The commissioner acknowledged that access to these databases was subject to the currently deadlocked negotiations on a future UK-EU relationship.
But he stressed the importance of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), Prum, which shares fingerprints and DNA across Europe, and the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), which allows suspects to be extradited between EU member states.
In his annual report, Wiles said: “If the outcome of the negotiations is that we lose access to EU exchange mechanisms such as ECRIS, Prüm and the EAW then that will be detrimental to the UK’s ability to deal with inter-European criminal activity (including terrorism) and international crime with European links, unless other mechanisms, with similar capabilities, can be agreed upon and established.
“I welcome the work being done by the ICCC (International Crime Coordination Centre) and ACRO (the criminal records office) to plan for such an eventuality but I remain deeply concerned about the potential risks for UK law enforcement of the loss of these exchange mechanisms with the countries of the EU.”
Boris Johnson has committed to taking the UK out of the European Arrest Warrant once the Brexit transition ends on December 31, calling for the creation instead of “fast-track extradition agreements” with extra safeguards, based on EU deals with Norway and Iceland.
But the commissioner, who reviews the police’s use of DNA and...