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Schengen Information System and European Arrest warrant in Italy

7 August 2020, Nicola Canestrini

 The Schengen Information System (SIS) is the most widely used and largest information sharing system for security and border management in Europe (worldwide its equivalent would be Interpol).

As there are no internal borders between Schengen countries in Europe, SIS compensates for border controls and is a cooperation tool for border, immigration, police, customs and judicial authorities in the EU and the Schengen associated countries.

Competent national authorities, such as the police and border guards, are able to enter and consult alerts for available translations of the preceding on people and objects in one common database. These people and objects can be located anywhere within the EU and the Schengen area during border, police or other lawful checks.

Learn more about European arrest warrant defence strategies

SIS only contains alerts on people or objects falling under one of the following alert categories:

  • Refusal of entry or stay: alerts covering third-country nationals who are not entitled to enter into or stay in the Schengen Area.
  • Persons wanted for arrest: alerts for people for whom a European Arrest WarrantSearch for available translations of the preceding lor Extradition Request (Switzerland and Liechtenstein) has been issued.
  • Missing persons: alerts to find missing persons, including children, and to place them under protection if lawful and necessary.
  • Persons sought to assist with a judicial procedure: alerts to find out the place of residence or domicile of people sought to assist with criminal judicial procedures (for example witnesses).
  • Persons and objects for discreet or specific checks: alerts to obtain information on people or related objects for the purposes of prosecuting criminal offences and for the prevention of threats to public or national security.

Objects for seizure or use as evidence in criminal procedures: alerts on objects (for example vehicles, travel documents, number plates and industrial equipment) being sought for seizure or use as evidence in criminal proceedings. Alerts on travel documents may also be issued specifically for preventing travel by the person who holds them.

Born 1995, the second generation of SIS (SIS II) was rolled out in 2013, with additional functionalities, such as the possibility of adding fingerprints and photographs to alerts.


SIS alert and arrest 

The Italian implementation law of EU Framework decision 584/2002 about European Arrest warrant law explicitly allows police to arrest the wanted person for surrender purposes (read more about European Arrest Warrant in Italy), and Italian case law is consistent with said provision, ruling that the mere entry of a specific alert in the S.I.S. authorises an immediate arrest of the wanted person by the police.

An alert entered in SIS by one country becomes available in real time in all other countries that use SIS, so that competent authorities across the EU can find the alert.

Technically, SIS consists of a central system, national SIS systems in all the countries using SIS, a network between the systems.

SIS alerts and rights of the individual

A SIS alert contains information about a particular person or object together with instructions for the authorities on what to do when the person or object has been found.

The specialised national SIRENE Bureaux located in each country serve as single points of contact for exchanging additional information and coordinating activities related to SIS alerts.

All data subjects have a right to:

  1. access data relating to them
  2. correct inaccurate data or erase data unlawfully stored in the system

Anyone who is the subject of alerts for returns or alerts for refusal of entry and stay has the right to be informed about the alert.

All data subjects have a right to bring proceedings before the courts or competent authorities to access, correct or delete data or to obtain compensation for damages suffered from breaches of data protection law in any of the countries that use SIS. 

 Learn more about European arrest warrant defence strategies