Committee report warns that police cooperation between the UK and EU could end without action on trade agreement
The concerns relate to the EU's proposed regulation
The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee published its findings on its latest analysis of the EU laws that could impact the UK on 4 April, which warns that cross-border cooperation between UK and EU police could end if proposed changes to the EU rules on police database information sharing enter into force without a deal to update the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
According to the Committee, if the UK government does not align with the EU’s proposed regulation of 8 December 2021 on automated data exchange for police cooperation, otherwise known as the ‘Prüm II’ proposals, UK police could be locked out of EU-wide databases and blocked from accessing biometric information on criminals operating in Europe, impacting the government’s ability to target organised crime operating across borders. The TCA provides the EU with the ability to suspend the existing Prüm cooperation if the EU rules are ‘substantially’ changed and the UK does not agree to those changes being reflected in an updated version of the TCA.
The proposed Prüm II regulation includes amendments to the current framework for cross-border police cooperation and data exchanges within the EU and includes new categories of data such as digital facial images, police records and, potentially, driving licences.
Alongside the publication of the report, Committee Chairman Sir William Cash has written to Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat, detailing the concerns and requesting clarity on how the government intends to respond to the EU’s proposed regulation. The Committee’s letter also requests that the government publishes a full impact assessment before taking any decision on updates to the TCA and highlights the need for appropriate parliamentary scrutiny.
In addition to this, the Committee’s letter also highlights concerns regarding the increased scope that would be brought about by the proposed regulation, which ‘would increase the amount of personal data that could be searched by automated means and shared with the UK’s law enforcement counterparts in the EU. As the pool of searchable data increases, so too does the risk of false matches and wrongful incrimination.’