The UK has connected to the Prüm framework, which will allow the law enforcement agencies in the UK and across the European Union (EU) to search for matching samples on each other’s DNA databases.
The Prüm arrangements facilitate large-scale exchange of fingerprints and DNA profiles, as well as vehicle registration numbers, between signatories to the Prüm Treaty for the purposes of law enforcement and national security.
It stipulates provisions stating that EU member states grant each other access to their automated DNA analysis files, automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS), and vehicle registration data.
The UK’s implementation of Prüm is expected to boost the capacity of security agencies in the UK and EU to tackle cross-border crime and protect citizens.
The government said that the implementation of Prüm will enable better co-operation between police forces and law enforcement agencies.
It said that under the Prüm framework, unknown DNA samples collected from crime scenes can now be compared automatically with profiles held by other EU member states.
The DNA database in the UK currently holds profiles of over five million people and 55,000 samples from crime scenes.
According to the government, cross-border police cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism, crime and illegal migration, can be increased by improving the speed and efficiency of data exchanges between EU member states.
Moreover, implementation of the Prüm framework also has the potential to help police forces in the UK and the EU to identify suspects in cold cases.
The UK, which did not join the Prüm arrangements in 2005, proposed in 2013 to undertake a Prüm Style Pilot for DNA exchange and Metropolitan Police Service Forensic Services was commissioned to undertake the pilot.
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said: “Connecting to the Prüm DNA framework will help our police forces to quickly identify foreign criminals and bring them to justice.
“We are committed to working closely with our EU partners on security co-operation, and to providing law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to protect our citizens.”
Prior to connecting to the Prüm DNA framework, the UK’s National Crime Agency used to exchange data through manual exchange mechanisms.
The UK government affirmed that it is committed to a long-term security partnership with the EU.