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Committee publish report looking at cross-border law enforcement

4 December 2015

The European Scrutiny Committee has published a report looking at the Cross-border law enforcement cooperation with significant implications for the prevention of terrorism and for internal security, crime, privacy and Parliamentary Sovereignty — UK participation in Prüm.

On Tuesday 8 December the House of Commons will be asked whether the UK should participate in EU measures enabling police forces across the European Union to access each other's databases containing DNA profiles, fingerprints and vehicle registration records in order to prevent and investigate crime. The European Scrutiny Committee publishes a report to inform that debate.

The UK does not currently participate in the measures — referred to collectively as — "Prüm" — but the Government has now recommended that it should.  The Government has made clear that the final decision on UK participation rests with Parliament. 

Chair's comments

The Chair of the European Scrutiny Committee, Sir William Cash MP, says,

"The recent terrorist atrocities in Paris form the backdrop against which the debate on UK participation in Prüm will take place. Our Report highlights important questions for Parliament to consider. They include the practical implications of Prüm for the exercise of Parliamentary sovereignty over internal security matters, the risks associated with accepting the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice, the contribution that Prüm can make to the prevention and investigation of crime, and the safeguards proposed by the Government to ensure that individuals are not exposed to the risk of false incrimination or unwarranted interference with their right to privacy."    

The Report provides an assessment of the evidence presented in the Business and Implementation Case on which the Government's recommendation to participate in Prüm is based. The Committee identifies issues which Members may wish to explore in greater detail in the debate.

Background

The Prüm package is made up of three EU measures which ceased to apply to the UK on 1 December 2014, following the previous Government's decision to opt out of all EU police and criminal justice measures adopted before 1 December 2009 (when the Lisbon Treaty took effect) and to rejoin a smaller number — 35 in total — which the Government considered to be in the UK's national interest.

The Committee's Report explains why the UK opted out of the Prüm measures in 2014 and the basis on which the Government is now recommending that UK participation in Prüm would be in the national interest, based on the information contained in Command Paper 9149 (published on 26 November). 

Further information

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