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Britons to be spied on, without judicial supervision, by foreign police

Posted by James Hammerton @ 2:12 pm on 26 July, 2010.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics, accountability, European Union politics.
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The Telegraph reports:

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will today announce she plans to sign up to the so-called European Investigation Order (EIO), The Daily Telegraph understands.

It comes despite concerns by fair trial campaigners and has angered backbench Tories.

It raises the prospect of personal details of individuals being passed on without their knowledge in the most minor of cases, such as leaving a restaurant without paying.

Foreign police officers would also be able to come to the UK and work alongside police here in investigating individuals, although they would not have any powers of arrest.

The EIO is designed to help law enforcement agencies in EU states share information and be more effective in combating cross border crime.

But Fair Trials International (FTI) said it could result in disproportionate requests, such as demands for the DNA of plane loads of British holidaymakers following a murder in a resort they had visited.

A report by FTI said: “This could include requests to interview suspects or witnesses or obtain information in real time, by intercepting and monitoring telephone or email communications or by monitoring activity in bank accounts.

“States could also be required to obtain or analyse DNA samples or fingerprints and send the information to the issuing state within fixed deadlines.”

Police would not be able to argue that the request or alleged offence being investigated is disproportionate.

Previous examples of minor criminal offences already pursued around Europe include a carpenter who fitted wardrobe doors and then removed them when the client refused to pay him and the Polish authorities requesting the extradition of a suspect for theft of a dessert.

Big Brother Watch have also covered this issue. Note that there will be no judicial oversight and such surveillance may be performed for “crimes” which are not recognised in Britain.

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