by Gian Michele Mosca
- HLS & Defence
If any doubts still lingered about the usefulness of the EU’s Schengen Information System (SIS II), the latest Police results from Ireland must have totally crushed them by now. In the first six months since that shared EU Police alerts system was officially introduced on the Emerald Isle, the number of arrests more than doubled from the previous year.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the saying goes. Translated to EU border management, the proof of European Information Systems such as SIS II is in the actual results of policing.
Increase in arrests
In the case of An Garda Síochána, the National Police service of the Republic of Ireland, those results really do speak for themselves. Between March, when SIS II was rolled out on the island, and September, the Garda – or Gardaí, as they are more commonly referred to – managed to arrest no less than 126 fugitives, all of them wanted for serious crimes in Europe. Just for context: that amounts to double the number of extradition arrests that were made in the same period last year. This significant increase in arrests clearly indicates the database’s positive impact in the investigation of trans-European crime. This benefits not only the State and policing in Ireland but all citizens, in Ireland itself as well as in the rest of Europe.
Rapid information exchange gateway
The Schengen Information System allows the Garda a faster way to receive and exchange information on criminal activity in Europe. As a result, between March and September 2021, alerts by Police forces using the new database led to the arrest of 74 people in Ireland. Another 52 people were arrested on already endorsed European Arrest Warrants (EAW) with the help of SIS II. The fugitives were wanted for serious crimes across Europe including sex and drugs trafficking, sexual assault, theft assault, robbery, burglary, fraud and terrorism.
Integration is key
The integration of Ireland in the Schengen Information System was achieved due to intensive preparatory work by, among others, the participating EU Member States and eu-LISA, the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the area of freedom security and justice. The integration of the SIS II database into the different national systems means that automatic alerts are received in real-time. Not only does it include instances where persons are wanted for a serious crime in another country, but also alerts for missing persons, particularly children. Alerts are also generated for property including banknotes, vehicles, firearms and stolen, misappropriated or lost identity documents.
Sopra Steria does the job
As eu-LISA contractor, Sopra Steria oversees the maintenance and evolution of SIS II since 2018. We ensure that the system’s functionalities are in line with regulatory changes and that its performance can handle the increasing use that is made of the system.
Sopra Steria is the designer and editor of the SIB SIS software product allowing Schengen Member States national systems to interconnect with the central SIS II system. Today, 7 EU Member States are using our solution, including the Republic of Ireland, facilitating their operations on SIS II.
The Schengen Information System is part of a wide range of information sharing means available to the EU police forces, including Interpol and Europol. Find out more about these other information systems.
In 2022, the Schengen Information System is due to undergo its most extensive evolution since it first went live in 2013. Read up on its new features, users, and functionalities.