chapter  13
11 Pages

Keeping in context: Meaning what you say

ByKEVIN O’CONNELL

The increase in the number of people travelling globally has ensured that within hours of the commission of a serious crime its perpetrators can distance themselves by thousands of miles. Although the majority of criminal offences is still committed by local criminals, resourceful criminals – local or otherwise – know that operating in a different country, perhaps under a different identity, can defeat attempts to trace them. There are notorious cases of individuals who have evaded capture by crossing national boundaries (including, for instance, the celebrated industrialist, Asil Nadir, who skipped bail in London and fled to northern Cyprus in 1993 whilst under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office1), but exploiting national boundaries for personal protection should not be perceived as being the act of a particularly sophisticated criminal. In Europe in particular, the removal of internal border controls to facilitate trade and travel within the EU has not removed the advantages to the criminal of administrative and linguistic boundaries. The main advantage of crossborder flight for prolific criminals is that they can begin again with a clean sheet in a new country where their details and biometric data (such as fingerprints) are not held on file, and where, even if they are convicted, they will not attract the heavier sentences associated with recidivism. This has prompted the EU, with its commitment to open borders, to consider introducing a community criminal record.2