Criminals Should Have Right to See Their Police Files, Says the EU

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Byline: James Slack Home Affairs Editor

EUROCRATS are demanding that Britain gives criminals even greater rights to 'privacy'.

They have drawn up an EU directive which will hand offenders a string of rights to know the information the police hold about them - and even to request it be deleted.

Police, who already claim they are short of funds, will be forced to spend millions of pounds appointing specialist 'data protection officers' to look after the personal details of burglars and rapists.

The Coalition, which has signed up to all similar directives, is required to opt in to the diktat. The Liberal Democrats are supporters of EU legislation and are certain to back the move. However Tory MPs fear the directive will make police even more nervous about naming and shaming criminals.

There are also fears it could even apply to sensitive information including the names and addresses of informants and witnesses.

There have already been a string of cases of police refusing to issue pictures of on-the-run criminals for fear of breaching either their human rights or data protection laws.

MPs also fear the EU order will embolden criminals to mount legal challenges against the state - at huge cost to the taxpayer. Tory MP Dominic Raab, who is urging the Home Office to block the move said: 'This directive will sow legal confusion and add bureaucratic costs for police forces on the front line.

'Brussels should not be micro-managing how UK police operate and Britain should resist this counter-productive measure.'

The EU directive, which relates to privacy in policing and judicial matters, will be debated by MPs tomorrow.

It says anybody who has their details stored by a police force can request to know all the information held. They will also be entitled to know who is in charge of looking after the information, which is likely to include photographs and other personal details.

The wording of the draft is vague, but suggests criminals will be able to request information be deleted. And there will need to be a data protection officer for all criminals' data in each police area, the draft suggests.

The Government can opt out of EU legislation which it fears will be too onerous or not in Britain's interests. But it has signed up for a string of controversial measures in recent years - including the European Arrest Warrant and the European Investigation Order. …