Home secretary admits '˜challenge' in keeping access to EU criminal data exchange
WORKING out a deal to share information about criminals between Britain and European Union states is '˜challenging,' the home secretary said.
Speaking at a visit to ACRO Criminal Records Office, which handles exchanges of conviction data and intelligence between foreign countries and Britain, Ms Rudd said she wants to ‘plug into’ the system currently used.
ACRO, near Fareham, processes thousands of requests between UK police forces and their overseas counterparts.
But the EU’s ECRIS conviction exchange system – branded by ACRO as ‘faster, more efficient’ than other exchanges – is only open to EU states.
Ms Rudd hailed the ‘impressive work’ at ACRO, but said: ‘As we leave the European Union I want to make sure that we have a system which is just as good as the one we have here.
‘It’s a challenging proposal because at the moment we’re embedded in the EU in terms of all the data exchange systems which keep us safe, but we’ve made a strong offer, a proposal to make a third party treaty with the European Union which will allow us to plug into the EU in a way that will be just as strong and robust as the existing systems that we helped to develop and are part of. I’m optimistic we can do it, but I don’t underestimate the challenge.’
Ms Rudd added: ‘We need to make sure we have something in place by the end of the transition period, but if there’s not we’re also making sure we have contingency plans in place instead so that we can continue to keep people safe.’