European information exchange


ACRO celebrates five years of ECRIS



ACRO Criminal Records Office is celebrating five years since the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) first went live.



ECRIS is a secure computer system that exchanges criminal record information between EU countries.



It has become a vital component in how we help keep communities safe in the UK and across the world.



Five facts for five years of ECRIS:

  1. The first criminal conviction exchange via ECRIS was between the UK and Austria on the 27th April 2012.
  2. The record of the fastest exchange that ACRO holds is three minutes which took place in 2014 when Germany sent a 'no-convictions' response to the UK.
  3. The first five countries to connect with the UK in order were Austria, Poland, France, Estonia and Germany.
  4. In May 2012 35,734 messages were exchanged. In March 2017 this number had increased by six times to 239,843.
  5. ACRO is connected to 26 of the other 27 EU Member States. Having connected with Malta this month (June 2017), the final country undergoing testing with ACRO is Portugal, which is expected to be connected in the near future.


ECRIS operates under European legislation that states that each request that each country must respond to a request in 10 days, though it can take a matter of minutes.



The system therefore ensures a smooth, accurate and reliable flow of information between Central Authorities within Member States.



Prior to ECRIS’s launch in 2012, ACRO had to request information manually via email. The results were not always guaranteed and it could take months for countries to respond.



Lucy Saunders, Senior Manager of International Services at ACRO said: “The impact that ECRIS has made to our operations is huge. By improving the flow of information between European countries, we are able to more efficiently obtain criminal records information. This in turn helps our law enforcement partners make more timely decisions about preventing and detecting crime and protecting the public.”