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Department of Justice and Equality of Ireland

09/16/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/16/2021 05:25

Minister Humphreys and Garda Commissioner Harris mark six months of Ireland’s connection to Schengen Information System (SIS II)

Minister Humphreys and Garda Commissioner Harris mark six months of Ireland's connection to Schengen Information System (SIS II)

  • Between connection to SIS II on 15 March and 14 September 2021, there have been 74 arrests in Ireland based on SIS data for offences including drug trafficking, robbery, sexual assault, theft, assault, fraud and property offences
  • There has also been an additional 52 arrests on European Arrest Warrants (EAWs)
  • This represents almost double the number of arrests for the same six month period in the past two years.

16 September 2021

The Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys TD, and the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, have today welcomed six months of Ireland's successful connection to the Schengen Information System (SIS II), which occurred on 15 March 2021.

For the first six months of operation, there have been 74 arrests on SIS Article 26 (Alerts on Persons Wanted for Arrest for Surrender or Extradition Purposes) and 52 Arrests on already endorsed European Arrest Warrants for offences including Drug trafficking, Robbery, Sexual Assault, Burglary, Theft, Assault causing harm, Fraud and Property Offences. This is double the corresponding figures for the same 6 months in 2020.

Minister Humphreys said,

'I am pleased to mark the good progress Ireland has made since connecting to the Schengen Information System (SIS II) six months ago. These numbers demonstrate the positive impact SIS II has had on the investigation of trans-European crime to date, with a significant increase in the number of arrests for a large number of crime types.

'The integration of Ireland in the SIS II was achieved due to intensive preparatory work by An Garda Síochána, officials of my Department, participating States and EU-LISA (European Union Agency for large-scale IT systems) and I would like to thank everyone involved in this project for making this possible.'

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said,

'The introduction of the Schengen Information System in Ireland has opened up a rapid information exchange gateway for An Garda Síochána and our colleagues in Police services across Europe.

'Since its introduction in this State six months ago, SIS II has enabled An Garda Síochána and its Gardaí on patrol to access and share real time police data and intelligence in the live environment, resulting in approximately 126 arrests relating to incidents of serious criminality across the EU.

'The successes of SIS II have already been many and the benefits of the system to the State and policing in Ireland for the benefit of all citizens cannot be overstated.

'I wish to again acknowledge the commitment and dedication of all personnel involved in the implementation of this system, particularly the personnel within the SIRENE Bureau. It is their professionalism and diligence that have contributed greatly to the success of this project thus far and will ensure its continued future advances.'

SIS II is a centralised secure database used by European countries for maintaining information (alerts) related to border security and law enforcement and is a critical component of the open border policy that has been operating in Europe. The integration of SIS II into national systems means that automatic alerts are generated in real-time in instances where, for example, a Garda member encounters a person who is wanted or has been involved in a serious crime in another jurisdiction. SIS also generates alerts on missing persons (in particular children), as well as information on certain types of property, such as banknotes, cars, vans, firearms and identity documents that may have been stolen, misappropriated or lost.

An Garda Síochána set up the SIRENE Bureau (Supplementary Information Request at the National Entries) to implement SIS II, which is part of an EU-wide network of national contact points and operates on a 24/7 basis.

The new database is intended to allow law enforcement officers faster and easier ways to exchange information in relation to possible criminal activity, with a particular view to preventing criminals taking advantage of international borders to facilitate illegality. The implementation and integration with SIS II is a key project to support An Garda Síochána's objectives for European and International Police Co-operation. An Garda Síochána already makes full use of the range of information sharing means available to them, including Interpol, Europol and especially bi-lateral information exchange and SIS II provides an additional avenue in the fight against crime.

ENDS…/

Notes for Editors:

Garda members add data to SIS II in the form of alerts. An alert contains three elements:

  • identifying information on the person or object/vehicle sought;
  • a statement on why the person or object is sought; and
  • the action to be taken when the person or object is found.

If the person or object is discovered in another country using SIS II (for example at a border check), a hit will be recorded on SIS II and law enforcement in that country will contact An Garda Síochána to discuss the relevant next steps. In this way, all missing person records and lost or stolen object and vehicle records created by An Garda Síochána will be immediately available to those other countries using SIS II. During 2019 alone, there were 120,000 missing person records shared on SIS II.

Likewise, records in regard to all persons sought for arrest and surrender for extradition across Europe will be automatically checked each time a member of An Garda Síochána conducts a name search on the Garda PULSE system or when a member of the Immigration Service of the Department of Justice conducts a passport scan at a point of entry to Ireland.

Examples of successes since the connection to SIS II

SIS PRE LIVE DATA VALIDATION PROCESS

  • On 30th January 2021 during the SIS EAW Data Validation process, a PULSE trace was achieved on a SIS alert from ITALY for the purpose of arrest and surrender for Child Prostitution. The subject was a Romanian national living in the Dublin area. From PULSE it could be established that the subject was living with children at their residence in Dublin. Due to the concern for the welfare and safety of the children the matter was immediately escalated, the EAW was urgently sought from Italian authorities through official channels and the subject was arrested.

ARTICLE 26 ARREST FOR THE PURPOSES OF SURRENDER

IRISH ALERTS

  • On 18th March a SIS Alert was created for a Polish national wanted for murder in 2015. On 19th March, 2021, one day later, the Polish Sirene Bureau responded to the Irish SIS alert advising that the subject was currently imprisoned in Poland and serving a sentence on another offence. This person was sought since 2015.

  • On 14th May 2021 a SIS alert was created for an Italian national wanted in relation an alleged rape of a young male in Munster in 2019. The subject had since returned to Italy and it was believed that he continued to have interactions with teens and minors at sports camps. The subject was arrested in Italy on 27th May, 13 days after the Irish SIS Alert was created.

  • On 24th May a SIS alert was created for a Dutch national who had seriously assaulted his wife in their home in 2015. The subject fled the country soon after the offence was alleged to have been committed. On 8th June 2021 the Dutch authorities advised that the subject had been arrested on foot of the Irish SIS Alert, 6 years after the offence was reported however only 15 days after the alert was created.

OTHER MEMBER STATES (OMS) ALERTS

  • On 29th June 2021, SIRENE Italy created SIS alert concerning a European Arrest Warrant for a subject for the offences of being part of a criminal organisation, aiding and abetting and exploitation of prostitution (including minors) which had occurred sometime between March 2014 and June 2019. The sentence handed down from the Italian courts was 12 years. On 29th June 2021 an Article 26 Alert was received. A PULSE check was immediately carried out and a positive hit was received. In 2020 the individual had been stopped driving a vehicle in Ireland and an address was provided. Until this alert was received into the SIRENE Bureau it was unknown that the subject was wanted for such serious offences in Italy. Details of this positive hit was forwarded to the competent unit for urgent attention.

  • On 14th April an arrest took place of a Egyptian National wanted for the trafficking of 25 million euros worth of cannabis resin in Spain. The European Arrest Warrant was issued in 2014.

ARTICLE 32 MISSING PERSONS

IRISH ALERTS

  • In 2018 a 14 year old vulnerable girl was reported missing from a care home in Connacht. On 4th May 2021 the missing minor was stopped in a railway station in Switzerland and was unaccompanied at the time. SIRENE Switzerland notified the Irish SIRENE Bureau as per SIRENE protocols. Contact was made by the Irish SIRENE Bureau with the Senior Investigating Officer in the case and with the TUSLA point of contact. This immediate liaison opened the channels of communication between An Garda Síochána investigators, TUSLA and the Swiss Social Services which in turn led to the taking into care of the vulnerable minor.

  • On 9th March 2021 a High Risk Missing Person (adult) was reported by her father to his local Garda Station and was believed to be in Greece. An Article 32 Alert was created after SIS go-live. On 13th May the missing person was located in a store in Athens in a very incoherent state. She was taken into protective custody after which her father flew out to Greece and was reunited with his daughter.

OMS ALERTS

  • On 26th April Gardaí attended an address in Connacht where the mother wanted to make a report of having issues with her child. Attending Gardaí carried out checks on PULSE which automatically checks SIS. It was discovered that the child was subject of a missing person (minor) report in France. The Irish mother had removed the child from France in contravention of a court order and the missing person report was made by the estranged husband. French authorities were informed.

  • On 1st June a Latvian subject was stopped at a checkpoint and requested to produce a valid driver's licence. The vehicle was seized and when creating the incident on PULSE it subsequently transpired that the person was subject of a missing person SIS alert. Details were submitted to SIRENE and passed on to Latvian authorities who subsequently cancelled the missing person alert.

ARTICLE 38 - SEIZURE OF OBJECTS

OMS ALERTS

  • On 7th June 2021 a passport was seized from a Syrian National at Dublin Airport on the basis of a Spanish Alert.

  • On 28th July an off duty Garda officer found the sale of a motorcycle suspicious. Checks were carried out on the motorcycle on SIS and it was established that it was subject of a 'seize for evidence' alert in Germany for involvement in a serious case of theft. The motorcycle is now in Garda custody.