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Closer International working has come about as a result of Brexit

In spite of the challenges that policing has faced as a result of leaving the EU, DCC Peter Ayling has said greater cooperation and investments in technology have come about as a result.

We are now familiar with the fact that leaving the EU has necessitated a number of work-arounds for UK policing, with some describing certain mechanisms created by this landscape as “slower and more cumbersome”.

However, DCC Peter Ayling, the NPCC Lead for the International Crime Coordination Centre, has said today that - despite the challenges - policing has seen some benefits such as greater partnership working and investment in technology. 

No longer having access to the Schengen Information System was described by DCC Ayling as a “significant loss”, while he said extradition has also presented “significant challenges”. 

While replacement processes are still in the works – DCC Ayling has today said that benefits have come through the necessity for all law enforcement partners to “work much more closely together”.

One hundred officers from across policing have been designated to that task within the International Crime Co-ordination Centre (soon to be Joint International Crime Centre from March 28). 

“What I see consistently across domestic partners and particularly international partners is that shared endeavour and a spirit of reciprocity,” he said. 

“There is a joint benefit of identifying and responding to dangerous individuals that will cause harm. 

“I think that has accelerated vastly […] and without that level of cooperation and commitment – I’m not sure we would have been able to describe a more positive outlook to the one we are doing today.” 

Meanwhile, when the Justice and Home Affairs Committee asked whether it was the individual relationships having a positive impact as distinct from the structures in Europol, NCA Director General of Operations Steve Rodhouse said “personal relationships are very important”. 

He continued: “But there’s also something about the reality of crime, particularly serious crime, that it is inherently transnational and there’s something about the mutual benefit for everyone if nations are able to work together and to exchange the information they have and create joint plans. 

“Pretty much every organised crime threat that impacts upon the UK originates overseas and much of it will transit through European states. 

“There’s mutual self-interest as well as good interpersonal relationships.”

As for an update on the replacement systems being developed for the UK – the current SIS II replacement (Interpol mechanisms through I-24/7) does not provide live-time access direct to frontline officers. 
It also relies upon EU member states making use of the system, potentially in addition to SIS II. 

The Committee was told today that Interpol notices are available through the PNC to those on the frontline within a number of hours of being received – with automation now being used to ensure it’s a smooth as possible. 

DCC Ayling said that frontline officers also have access to a “vastly increased network of people (custody suites, intelligence officers and control room) who hold licences to access I-24/7”. 

However, for UK officers who wish to create and disseminate a notice – that process remains largely manual. 

Meanwhile, it’s believed that EU member states are making good use of Interpol – however due to a lack of access to SIS II, it is impossible to directly check that everything going onto SIS II is also put on to Interpol. 

All forces are scheduled to be onboarded onto I-LEAP by April 2024 with six forces already currently live. 

The first phase of the I-LEAP programme will make Interpol data available via domestic systems and mobile devices in real time and phase two will require the signing of a multi-lateral agreement (a shift from the bilateral agreements initially planned). 

Meanwhile, 15 countries are now connected to Prum (to share fingerprint, DNA and vehicle owner registration) – representing 95% of all DNA profiles that are held within Europe. 

Twelve countries are on for fingerprint searching with a further five due to come on board.  

The UK have provided over 240,000 unidentified UK DNA stains and over 6.5 million DNA profiles for convicted individuals. 

As a consequence of receiving information the NCA has sent out just over 3,000 subject profiles to regional forces since the system has been in place. 

DCC Ayling gave two example rape cases from a serious crime pilot using Prum. In the first, a link was made with subject believed to have raped a female to an individual in custody in France who had antecedence for a number of crimes including rape and murder. 

The second case found a subject shown to have left for Bahrain – work is currently ongoing to determine the next course of action. 

DCC Ayling said: “These are cases that could not have been progressed without access to Prum. 

“We are seeing the value of this system increase as time progresses”. 

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