France is blocking Britain from remaining part of an EU security system that keeps track of foreign criminals after Brexit.
The database, known as the Prum Convention, keeps the public safe by tracking offenders’ DNA, fingerprints and vehicle information.
The UK wants continued access to the system, which allowed French and Belgian authorities to identify the 2015 Paris terrorists, after it leaves the European Union.
But France rebuffed the notion at a recent Brexit negotiation meeting, raising questions about Theresa May’s ability to negotiate a strong security partnership with the bloc.
Countries including Germany are thought to be in support of Britain’s continued access to the database.
Speaking to The Times, a senior Government figure said: ‘Normally France is quite helpful when it comes to security co-operation but on this they are being awkward.’
Earlier this year police officials revealed that the UK used EU security information systems 539 million times over the course of a year.
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Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin of the Met Police told a parliamentary committee that maintaining Britain’s current access to the databases is ‘critical’ for security.
‘Crime by its very nature is extremely global, there aren’t really any borders so our ability to interact with the tools, processes and relationships we have now is critical,’ he said.
‘When looking to ensure communities are safe as they possibly can be, those are the tools that we really need.’
The Prime Minister has continually insisted that leaving the European Union will not compromise Britain’s security.
She told the Munich Security Conference in February: ‘Within Europe we are working ever more closely with our European partners, bringing the influence and impact that comes from our full range of global relationships.
‘And we want to continue this co-operation as we leave the European Union.
‘As we leave the EU and forge a new path for ourselves in the world, the UK is just as committed to Europe’s security in the future as we have been in the past.
‘Europe’s security is our security. And that is why I have said – and I say again today – that the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining it.’