Today marks the launch of the much anticipated second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II). SIS II is a large scale EU database which facilitates the exchange of alerts and information and biometric data relating to wanted persons, general criminal activity and stolen property such as vehicles, firearms, banknotes and industrial machinery, between police, borders and customs authorities across Schengen Member States.
The new system, which has the capacity to contain up to 70 million alerts, will help maintain public security while also facilitating the free movement of people within the Schengen area.
Welcoming the launch of SIS II, Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD said:
“The new Schengen Information System, known as SIS II, improves the functioning of the current system but more importantly it adds significant new capabilities which will assist and enhance information exchange between law enforcement and border security authorities across the Member States.”
The new system improves upon the current Schengen Information System, allowing for the exchange of alerts on additional objects including for example boats, containers, industrial equipment and securities (cheques, credit cards, bonds stocks and shares). The system will also allow for the creation of links between related alerts which was not possible under the previous system. The information obtained is used in particular for police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters as well as for control of persons at the external borders or on national territory and for the issuance of visas and residence permits.
Minister Shatter said:
“The Schengen Information System is an indispensible component of the Schengen free travel area facilitating the application of the provisions on the free movement of persons and ensuring a high level of security across the area. I am delighted that the Irish Presidency was in a position to contribute to the completion of this important project.”
Note for Editors
The second generation of the Schengen Information System, SIS II, entered into operations on 09 April 2013. This will benefit police and judicial authorities in the 28 participating Member States as over the course of the day, national police systems in each of the participating Member States will switch over to SIS II.
This is a significant achievement during the current Irish Presidency which has involved careful coordination of police and judicial agencies in each of the 28 countries that are using the existing SIS 1+ system.
It is perhaps appropriate that SIS II will go live during the Irish Presidency of the EU. The EU procurement process to upgrade SIS 1+ to a new version SIS II commenced under the previous Presidency in 2004.
In the last 3 months over 47 million records relating to stolen objects and wanted and missing persons have been migrated to the new system in preparation for switchover. From today, police systems in each of the Member States will now communicate directly with the new SIS II system.