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Committee endorses Goverment plans to rejoin the Prüm Decisions

7 December 2015

The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee calls on the House of Lords to endorse the UK Government's plans to rejoin the Prüm Decisions.

Background

On 26 November 2015 the Home Secretary announced, by means of a Written Ministerial Statement, the Government's intention to invite both Houses of Parliament to agree that the United Kingdom should rejoin the Prüm Decisions and the related Framework Decision on the accreditation of forensic service laboratories, which is necessary for participation in the Prüm Decisions.

The Prüm Decisions are Council Decisions under which the police forces of EU Member States are able automatically to share DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data.

Debate

The UK must decide whether to rejoin  the Prüm Decisions by the end of 2015. The Government has made a commitment that this decision should be for Parliament. Accordingly, the matter will be put to a vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday 8 December and the House of Lords on Wednesday 9 December.

Report Recommendations 

In its report, the Committee agrees with the Government's assessment that the UK participation in the Prüm Decisions is in the public interest, and will enable law enforcement agencies to fight both national and international crime more effectively.  

Commenting on the report, Baroness Prashar, Chairman of the Sub-Committee, said: 

“We support the Government's proposal to opt back into the Prüm Decisions. We are disappointed, however, that the Government has, once again, not allowed Parliament adequate time to scrutinise these very important measures.
 
“We believe that opting back into Prüm would be in the national interest. It will simplify the processes for gathering intelligence across the EU and encourage the sharing of information as a routine activity. This will help UK law enforcement agencies to solve crimes more quickly and may even prevent loss of life or property. It will also help to increase the flow of information on unsolved crimes and increase Member States' intelligence capacity. The current threat of terrorism across Europe underlines the critical importance of strengthening law enforcement agencies.
 
“At the same time, we understand that there are risks to rejoining Prüm. Therefore we feel strongly that the safeguards on exchanging data must be respected and we support the Government's proposals for additional safeguards.”

Futher information

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