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Commission wants to improve information exchange between law enforcement authorities in the EU

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 10.2.2022 13.19 | Published in English on 14.2.2022 at 11.37
Press release 25/2022
Euroopan unionin lippu.

The European Commission wants to enhance and modernise the exchange of information between police officers in the Member States. In December 2021, the Commission issued three proposals that would constitute an EU Police Cooperation Code: a proposal for a Directive on information exchange between law enforcement authorities of Member States, a proposal for a Council Recommendation on operational police cooperation, and a proposal for a so-called Prüm II Regulation on automated data exchange for police cooperation. The Government expressed its position on the proposals in its communication submitted to Parliament on 10 February.

The purpose of the proposed Directive on information exchange is to establish general rules for the exchange of information between law enforcement authorities, whereas the Prüm II Regulation would lay down more detailed rules for the information exchange.

Directive on information exchange provides a framework for information exchange between law enforcement authorities

The objective of the proposed Directive is to ensure an effective and efficient exchange of information while complying with fundamental rights in the cooperation between law enforcement authorities. For example, the proposed Directive lays down precise, consistent and common rules for ensuring equivalent access for any Member State's law enforcement authorities to information available in other Member States. It also determines precise time limits for processing urgent and non-urgent requests for information.

Developing information exchange between the law enforcement authorities of the Member States for the purpose of preventing, detecting and investigating criminal offences is very important in order to improve both national security and the EU's internal security, but it also requires resources. If implemented, the proposals would also introduce requirements for information systems. This would also incur costs at national level, even if some of the costs were covered by EU funding.

Prüm II Regulation would modernise information exchange

The purpose of the proposal for a Regulation on automatic data exchange for police cooperation ("Prüm II") is to modernise the exchange of information based on the Prüm Decisions adopted in 2008. The aim is to improve and facilitate the exchange of information between the law enforcement authorities of the Member States and with Europol in order to prevent, detect and investigate criminal offences.

Currently, Member States can exchange DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data. The key changes include the establishment of central routers for transmitting queries and replies to them to replace the existing bilateral connections, enabling the exchange of facial images and police records, enabling Europol's involvement, and speeding up and simplifying the hit-follow-up process.

The Regulation would also allow for the search of missing persons and identification of unidentified human remains in cases where an offence is suspected to have been committed. The proposed Regulation would also make information exchange within the Prüm framework compliant with the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive.

Hannele Taavila, Police Director, tel. +358 295 488 568 (Directive on information exchange)
Kia Vertio, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 374 (Prüm II Regulation)