The European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) Fingerprint Exchange Network (EFEN) project concerns development in the wider use of fingerprints to support EU criminal records exchange.
This project aims to share and collate best practice amongst EU Member States. It also focuses on raising awareness of the importance of identity within EU criminal records exchange with the EU judicial community.
The wider use of fingerprints in this context will improve the identification of convicted persons, improve integrity of information stored on EU databases, protect the innocent from identity theft and will ensure that previous convictions can be used in court.
The EFEN project commenced in October 2012 and is set to last 2 years. It is co-funded by the DG Justice at the European Commission and has five partner countries; Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.
The project involves 5 different areas of work:
The project team will be conducting workshops with every EU Member State to share best practice of using fingerprints within criminal record exchange. The team will also conduct a research study in order to establish the current position of member states with regards the use of fingerprints in criminal record exchange. The purpose of the research is to enable the EU Commission to make an informed decision on the need for further Council Framework Decisions in this area.
An ECRIS Fingerprint Practitioner Network will be established to provide an open forum in which to debate the use of fingerprints within ECRIS. The network will strive to develop a mutual understanding between Member States in this regard.
The project team will deliver an import interface to enable fingerprint searches to be launched directly against the UK fingerprint database (IDENT1) with a hit/no hit reply. As a result of refining the UKCA-ECR electronic process for incoming fingerprints from EU Member States, the time taken to check fingerprints will be reduced, which in turn will improve business efficiency. The project team will then share the outcomes with all Member States.
The project team will be holding workshops with European judicial authorities in every EU Member State, to share best practice and raise awareness of the importance of identification (in particular fingerprints) within criminal records exchange. The importance of correctly identifying individuals is paramount when using previous convictions handed down in other EU Member States for bad character and sentencing purposes.
Croatia became an EU Member State on 1st July 2013. The project team are engaging with Croatia to share best practice and support their integration into criminal records exchange arrangements with a focus on fingerprints. Meetings will be held with Croatian delegates to discuss the importance of the use of fingerprints, and to discuss the processes in which criminal records are exchanged.
The EFEN project will conclude with an international conference held within the EU. At this conference, the project team will present the findings of the project and delegates from each country will be invited to present their experiences of engaging with the EFEN project and sharing best practice.
With financial support from
the Criminal Justice Programme
of the European Union
This publication has been produced with the financial support of the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the ACPO Criminal Records Office (ACRO) and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.