The UK’s police forces have increasingly been cooperating with their European counterparts to help keep crime off our streets here at home.
In fact, we also benefit from an information sharing system in law enforcement, which came as part of Europe’s ‘borderless movement’ agreements, even though the UK opted out of the main principles of the agreement.
The Schengen Information System (SIS) allows UK police forces to receive and share data with police forces across Europe – data concerning terrorists, dangerous criminals, stolen cars, court proceedings and people who have gone missing.
SIS is in operation in 24 EU member states and several non-EU countries.
The UK began taking part in this system in 2000, soon after the Treaty of Amsterdam was agreed between member states, and it has already become an essential part of UK police interception and planning. Since then, the UK joined the Schengen Alert System in October 2014, a Europe-wide data system alerting UK police to missing persons and travelling criminals, and joined the second-generation SIS2 system in April 2015.
British police forces have benefitted from these integrated European networks and police acknowledge that UK security starts “not at our own borders, but at the Greek Islands and the Finnish Frontier”.
Indeed, the UK has been a major investor Europol, the combined European police initiative, and much of the efforts by our police to tackle international organised crime and terrorism are directed through this organisation.