The home Secretary claims the three-month, £250,000 manhunt for a Slovakian rapist who left a woman for dead in Leeds could have taken just “15 minutes” through better DNA sharing.
Theresa May wants MPs to back moves for the UK to opt in to the so-called Prum Decisions – a system designed to make it easier for EU countries to share DNA, fingerprints and vehicle information.
Mrs May used the example of Zdenko Turtak, who was given a 20-year sentence in October for the rape and grievous bodily harm of an 18-year-old in Beeston in March.
Having fled to Slovakia, 22-year-old Turtak was only caught when DNA recovered from the victim was matched to that found at the scene of a burglary in his native country.
It concluded a three-month investigation involving more than 100 officers that was the biggest West Yorkshire Police had conducted since the search for Dewsbury schoolgirl Shannon Matthews in 2008.
Mrs May said: “If the United Kingdom and Slovakia had been connected through the Prüm system, that initial hit, instead of taking two-and-a-half months, would have taken 15 minutes.
“Just think of the time and money that would have saved the police, not to mention the benefit to the victim of knowing that her attacker would be brought to justice.”
Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen, backed the Prum system, saying Mrs May had “hit the nail on the head”.
He said: “It makes absolute sense. As time moves forward, we are going to get more and more offenders coming from other countries.”