Gardaí arrest over 120 fugitives wanted for serious crimes since new alert system introduced
September 16 2021 12:49 PM
Over 120 fugitives wanted for serious crimes in Europe have been detained in Ireland since a new alert system was introduced earlier this year.
The number of arrests has more than doubled in the past year with suspects wanted for crimes including drug trafficking and sexual assault.
The Schengen Information System (SIS II) was rolled out in Ireland in March and has allowed gardaí a faster way to receive and exchange information on criminal activity in Europe.
In the past six months, 74 people have been arrested after gardaí were alerted by police forces utilising the new data base.
A further 52 people have been arrested on already endorsed European Arrest Warrants (EAW) with the help of SIS II.
The fugitives are wanted for serious crimes across Europe including drug trafficking, robbery, sexual assault, burglary, theft assault and fraud.
Last week an Algerian national wanted in France for terrorism offences was arrested in Dublin with the help of the SIS II system.
Another man was arrested in Kildare last month after his extradition was sought by Italian authorities for trafficking prostitutes and sexual offences.
The 126 arrests in the past six months is double the number of extradition arrests in the past. Justice Minister Heather Humphreys said the significant increase in arrests indicates the database’s positive impact in the investigation of trans-European crime.
“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,” Ms Humphreys said.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris added that the system has opened up “a rapid information exchange gateway” for gardaí and other European police forces.
“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,” the Garda chief said.
The integration of the database into national systems means that automatic alerts are generated in real-time.
This include instances where a person is wanted for a serious crime in another country, or for a missing person, particularly children.
Alerts are also generated for property including banknotes, cars, vans, firearms and stolen or misappropriated identity documents.
A Garda spokesman said that SIS II is an addition to the wide range of information sharing means available to the force, including Interpol and Europol.