By David Leppard and Chris Williams
The personal details of nearly 40m UK motorists will be open to abuse when they are “automatically” trawled by foreign states, an internal police report has admitted.
Sensitive information such as a driver’s address, motoring convictions and medical history will be exposed to routine sifting by police, traffic wardens and other officials across Europe when European Union data-sharing plans come into force in 2011.
The “restricted” document raises fears that foreign traffic police and other bureaucrats on the continent will be able to hunt down British tourists years after they return home for reasons such as unpaid parking fines.
When ministers signed the agreement in the German town of Prüm in 2007 they said it was part of a campaign against “serious crime, terrorism and illegal immigration”.
But the report reveals that the government now believes the database run by the DVLA in Swansea will be routinely accessed even for minor offences.
It says the treaty will grant unrestricted 24-hour access to the entire DVLA database to more than two dozen EU states.
“The UK is aware that this is open to abuse, and that some EU member states are likely to use the Prüm capability for inquiries beyond the defined scope of cross-border crime and counter-terrorism,” says the the National Policing Improvement Agency.
Dominic Grieve, the shadow justice secretary, said the report showed ministers had misled the public.