The UK has quietly signed up to four sets of measures involving criminal justice cooperation with the EU, the Gazette can reveal.

Columnist and Law Society Council member Jonathan Goldsmith writes today that, in the run-up to the expected Brexit date of 29 March, the UK filed formal notifications with the registry of the EU Council that it would opt in to two  judicial cooperation measures. They are:

      • Improvements to Eurodac, a centralised database containing the fingerprint data of asylum seekers and illegal border crossers found within EU territory. 
      • Governance changes to Eurojust, the cooperation unit for investigations and prosecutions. This now becomes the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation.

Meanwhile on 12 April, the deferred date for leaving the EU, the UK notified the EU of its intentions to take part in the adoption and application of changes made to the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) and to apply the Prüm Convention, an intergovernmental treaty on cross-border cooperation, particularly in combatting terrorism and cross-border crime.

Prüm allows for automated access to DNA profiles, fingerprint data and national vehicle registrations. It also contains provisions for the deployment of armed sky marshals on flights between signatory states, joint police patrols, hot pursuit by armed police into the territory of another state for the prevention of immediate danger, and cooperation in case of mass events or disasters. 

Goldsmith notes that the UK is under no obligation to opt into any of these measures even if it remains a member of the EU.