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European Commission plans to put criminal records on shared database

Rebecca Thomson

The European Commission has announced plans to increase international data sharing on criminals by helping countries to share information held on national criminal records databases.

It has established the European Criminal Records Information System, which will put in place the general architecture for the electronic exchange of information, and lay foundations for future IT developments connecting criminal records systems.

By the beginning of 2009, interconnection software will be in place. It will give tools to all 27 member states for the exchange of information, helping them to bridge differences in legal systems, languages and alphabets.

The commission said, "Existing mechanisms do not yield reliable results. National courts frequently pass sentences on the sole basis of the past convictions featuring in their national register, without any knowledge of convictions in other member states. More generally, this information, which is of particular relevance for access to certain types of jobs, does not circulate properly."





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