SIRENE bureau heads discuss changes to SIS in informal meeting

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An informal meeting of the heads of the national SIRENE bureaus, responsible for the operation of national segments of the Schengen Information System (SIS), is taking place in Slovenia on Tuesday and Wednesday. Particular emphasis will be put on the new features of the SIS, the Slovenian police have announced.

The SIRENE bureau is the national body that provides for better cooperation of the police forces of member states and constant exchange of data and search warrants for persons and items.

In accordance with the Schengen rules, meetings are organised by the presiding country of the EU Council to transfer knowledge and experience, with improving standards of work in this field remaining the long-term goal.

Janez Žabkar, the head of the Slovenian SIRENE bureau, emphasised in his address the bureaus’ role in providing security in the EU and labelled informal meetings as an opportunity for tackling joint challenges brought by changes of the SIS.

Criminal Police Department director Vojko Urbas said that the SIS, SIRENE bureaus, European Commission and Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA) were the “key factors in providing security in the EU”.

EU member state representatives today assessed the quality of cooperation, discussed whether it is necessary to make technical and organisational changes and debated various aspects of the SIS reform, such as new legislation and relevant information campaign.

Meanwhile, representatives of Europol and Frontex presented the current situation regarding preparedness for the planned changes to the SIS, which is planned for the second half of 2022 to bring new functionalities and measures.

On Wednesday, eu-LISA will present annual statistics, and representatives of member states will discuss the use of artificial intelligence in providing security of the Schengen Area, missing persons and training of SIRENE operators.

The informal meeting, which also features representatives of partners of the Council Secretariat and Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), is the first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 outbreak, the police added.

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