UK lost 'significant' access to EU policing data under deal

The Lords EU Security and Justice Sub-Committee has said that Britain has lost ‘significant’ access to EU policing data under the Brexit deal negotiated at the end of last year.

The committee has published a new report examining the provisions in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), signed by the UK and EU on 24 December 2020, which set out detailed arrangements to facilitate UK-EU cooperation on a range of EU policing and criminal justice measures.

The report raises several concerns, including that the UK will no longer have access to the Schengen Information System (SIS II), used extensively, pre-Brexit, by UK law enforcement agencies to obtain real-time information about the movement of criminals, missing persons and objects of interest. Moreover, it finds that the system those agencies will use instead, the Interpol I-24/7 database, does not yet provide them with the same information at the same speed.

Leaving the SIS II system meant that the UK lost access to 40,000 alerts about investigations in other European countries.

The report also raises concerns about the potential fragility of the arrangements in Part Three, which it notes can be suspended, or even terminated if the UK does not remain in step with changes to EU data protection laws, or if UK is found to have breached fundamental rights when handling personal data.

The report recommends that Parliament continues to monitor the implementation and effectiveness of many of Part Three’s provisions, which it concludes are complex, and, in many cases, are untested or yet to be finalised.

Responding to the report, Home Office Minister Kevin Foster said: "The UK agreed a comprehensive security agreement with the EU that ensures the UK continues to be one of the safest countries in the world. We continue to work closely with domestic and EU partners to monitor the new arrangements and have excellent cooperation with EU member states on a wide range of law enforcement and criminal justice issues."



View the latest
digital issue