I am deeply concerned about the potential loss of access to The European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), a system which allows authorities in one member state to check whether an individual has any convictions in other member states, to inform investigations and sentencing and bail decisions. Currently no non-EU country has access to ECRIS.
Without access, the fallback is the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. However, this process is not as quick or straightforward as ECRIS.
The UK benefits enormously from ECRIS, and the large population of EU migrants in the UK means we are one of the heaviest users of the system. Without it, we will know less about what UK nationals do overseas and it will be harder to get information about foreign nationals within the UK, reducing our ability to make good decisions about bail or judges’ decisions on sentencing. I urge the Government to prioritise the UK retaining access to this key tool.