The following letter was sent to local media on Thursday 21 January 2016
Sir, Your readers might be interested to know that a European Commission proposal to upgrade the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), to allow for the exchange of criminal records of non-EU citizens in the EU has my support.
Checking the criminal records of people entering the EU marks an important step in delivering more confidence in migration, and I have long called for this to happen.
The upgrading of the existing system will improve cooperation between national authorities and help in the fight against terrorism and other forms of serious cross-border crime.
This initiative will ensure that ECRIS, which is already widely used for exchange of criminal records of EU citizens, will be used to its full potential by allowing judges to check criminal records and fingerprints across the EU in one request, rather than 27.
Conservatives in the European Parliament have been calling for ECRIS to be extended to non-EU nationals for some time. If Schengen and EU free movement are to survive it is essential to have clear and effective actions to maintain the safety of the public, and the upgrade of ECRIS provides a step in the right direction.
The recent atrocities in Paris highlighted the urgent need for a more robust and effective system of judicial cooperation within the EU. The upgrade of the ECRIS system will mean judges, prosecutors and the police will be better equipped for cross-border cooperation.
Effective exchange of criminal record data for both EU and non-EU citizens alike will help tackle terrorism and other cross-border crime and bring criminals to justice.