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Sharing DNA and fingerprint data across EU is in national interest, say Lords

The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has today published a short report backing the Government's proposal for the UK to rejoin the Prüm package of measures allowing EU Member States to share DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data.

The purpose of Prüm is to improve “cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal immigration”. In particular, it aims to improve the exchange of information between Member States by giving reciprocal access to national databases containing DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data.

While the Government has recommended that the UK should rejoin Prüm, it has made a commitment that the decision should be one for Parliament. In its report, the Committee assesses the Government's arguments in favour of rejoining Prüm as set out in its Business and Implementation Case. The report is published ahead of a debate and a resolution to endorse this proposal in the House of Lords on Wednesday 9 December.

The Committee's Chairman, Baroness Prashar, said:

“We support the Government's proposal to opt back into Prüm. 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 capacities. 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. We feel strongly, therefore, that the safeguards on exchanging data must be respected and we support the Government's proposals for additional safeguards.”

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