EU demands access to British police files: Forces will be ordered to hand over documents on investigations or face finesThe EU’s crime intelligence agency would be allowed access to
private filesEuropol could insist chief constables
disclose evidence from criminal casesThis could include witness statements, DNA samples and fingerprints
23:45 GMT, 18 April 2013
06:33 GMT, 19 April 2013
British police forces will be forced to hand sensitive details of criminal investigations to Brussels or risk a massive fine.
In a controversial move, the European Union’s crime intelligence agency would be allowed to demand access to private police files.
Europol could insist chief constables disclose evidence from criminal cases, witness statements, DNA samples, fingerprints and other data.
Controversial: British police forces will be forced to hand sensitive details of criminal investigations to Brussels or risk a massive fine
The UK would not be able to block a request – even if it harmed national security or jeopardised an ongoing investigation.
It raises the prospect of corrupt or incompetent police officers or officials in other countries allowing compromising information to fall into the hands of criminals.
The proposal would also put huge operational strain on forces as they would be ordered to divert resources from tackling crime to information-gathering for Brussels.
If the UK refused to comply, it could be hit with a 220million-a-year fine.
Concerned critics warned
the move, which would cost 62million a year, was a step nearer a single
European criminal justice system.
MP Dominic Raab said: ‘This plan lays bare the federalist ambition of
moving towards a single European criminal justice system, shorn of
proper national democratic control.
Concerns: In a controversial move, the European Union's crime intelligence agency would be allowed to demand access to private police files
‘If you don’t trust the Whitehall machine to look after your personal details, it will be a massive liability if it is sent to places that are rife with corruption and incompetence.’
The proposals were sneaked out by the European Commission in a 109-page document with the title European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Co-operation and Training.
They would expand the powers of Europol, the agency set up by the EU in 1999 to share intelligence, crime-fighting techniques and bolster cross-border police co-operation.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We will study the Commission’s proposal in detail and will consult Parliament before making a final decision on whether to opt in to it.’