EU access to our databases
Innocent British citizens may be drawn into foreign criminal investigations after the Government agreed to EU-wide access to its ‘Big Brother’ databases, the Conservatives have warned.
All 26 other member countries will be able to check against sensitive personal information held on driver registration, DNA and fingerprint computer systems.
Where there is a match, a suspect-could be extradited to face trial abroad or – at the least – be forced to explain their movements or provide an alibi to prove their innocence.
An example of the DNA kits used to take swabs from 4.6m members of the public, 800,000 of whom are innocent of any crime.
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve warned: “There is a real risk that a disproportionate number of innocent British citizens will be sucked into foreign criminal investigations.”
The nightmare scenario for a British citizen is a false fingerprint-DNA or number plate match linking them to a rape, murder or other serious crime.
They could be dragged into a lengthy legal battle. The agreement is backed by the European arrest warrant, which provides speedy extradition.
Mr Grieve said people could even be arrested in Britain for something which is not a criminal offence, or be whisked away to face punishment abroad after being tried in their absence.
The Home Office said: “This initiative will bring benefits to law enforcement authorities in investigating and prosecuting serious crime.
“It will speed up existing procedures for member states to find out whether any other state has the information it needs, often returning a hit or no hit within 50 seconds.”
Countries, of course, with different standards of evidence, investigation, trials and so on.