Since writing my last blog about the use of information systems in crisis management, I’ve been interested in reading about how information systems can be used outside the business environment. This blog looks at how information systems have become a recent trend in helping to prevent and investigate crime. The European Criminal Records Information system is one example of an information system that is used to reduce crime in Europe.
With the enlargement of the European Union over the past few years, there is more freedom for people to move in and out of these European countries. This free movement fuelled concern as convicts had the ability to flee to another European country which remained uninformed of the convicts’ history. Previously, courts passed sentences based on criminal files recorded solely on their national register. The freedom of movement into other European countries therefore allowed criminals to escape their past convictions.
The European Criminal Records Information system was established in 2012 with the objective of ensuring that information on criminal convictions were passed effectively between all European countries. The system establishes an electronic network connecting criminal record databases between the member states of the European Union. This allows judges and courts to easily access any past crime of any European citizen no matter where the offence took place. This has prevented criminals from escaping their unlawful past by simply moving to another country.