During last week’s PMQs, David Cameron spoke of the failure to deport foreign criminals by accusing the opposition Labour Party of not being supportive of his efforts. Can I suggest that Labour can be supportive, if the government implements this simple policy to help protect the British people?
The Livescan fingerprint computer is the modern way of taking fingerprints, by placing the hand against a plate of glass, and allowing the computer to scan the prints. Within minutes Livescan produces the identity, photo and previous convictions of the subject.
Livescan is installed in most police stations in the UK and across the EU. This means that if someone is wanted as a paedophile, in Lithuania, then the computer has the power to immediately identify this person.
Unfortunately, the UK Livescan system is not connected to the EU, because the Tories don’t want integration between our criminal justice system and the rest of Europe. This means that foreign paedophiles and murderers can come to this country and evade detection. Even if they were arrested for some minor offence, we wouldn’t realise they were wanted if they gave a false name. The only way the officer could identify them, would be if he made a manual enquiry with Interpol, or happened to remember their face from a wanted poster from whichever country.
People come to the attention of the police in the most innocuous manner. In London, the most common way for wanted persons to be caught by the police, is when they fail to pay the fare on the bus or tube. However, rapists and murderers are just as likely to get arrested following a fight outside a pub. Livescan will reveal their identity, if the UK system was connected to the EU system.
It’s not just the major criminals that would be affected. If a Romanian pickpocket was arrested, the system would show them as having no criminal record. But if we were connected to the EU, then we would discover the pickpocket has been convicted in several other European countries. This would fundamentally effect how the person is dealt with.
It is not complex for the UK Livescan system to connect with the EU LIvescan system. In the time it takes for your computer to receive the latest Microsoft update, these systems could be linked up. The law has been in place since 2008, and has been with the British government since December 2012 [Prum Decision]. It just needs the government to agree to connect. We just have to plug in and go.
However, ideological reasons from within the Conservative Party are preventing this. They believe it would be a loss of British sovereignty to make it possible for the police to identify fugitive foreigners, and foreign countries to identify British fugitives. Most people don’t understand the logic.
The polls show that the Conservative Party has a lead over Labour on the issue of law and order, in spite of their deliberate policy to protect foreign criminals, sacrificing the security of British citizens.
If the police are not able to identify foreign criminals when they are in police custody, then this country might as well be a haven for rapists and murderers from all corners of Europe. When it comes to the public debate on law and order, this is an argument we need to win, if we are to protect the British people, and show them how the Conservatives are sacrificing our security for the sake of their own infighting over Europe.