The standards that underpin the cooperation via Sirene Bureaux are the following:
Each Sirene Bureau shall be fully operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to be able to react within the time limit as required in Section 1.13. Provision of technical and legal analysis, support and solutions shall also be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Each Sirene Bureau shall build an internal structure which guarantees the continuity of management, staff and technical infrastructure.
Pursuant to common Article 11 of the SIS II legal instruments, relevant national rules of professional secrecy or other equivalent obligations of confidentiality shall apply to all Sirene staff. This obligation shall also apply after staff members leave office or employment.
In order to fulfil the requirement to provide supplementary information, the Sirene staff shall have direct or indirect access to all relevant national information and expert advice.
1.10.1. Language of communication
In order to achieve the utmost efficiency in bilateral communication between Sirene Bureaux, a language familiar to both parties shall be used.
1.10.2. Data exchange between Sirene Bureaux
The technical specifications concerning the exchange of information between Sirene Bureaux are laid down in the document: “Data exchange between Sirene Bureaux (DEBS)”. These instructions shall be respected.
1.10.3. Network, messages and mailboxes
Sirene Bureaux shall use an encrypted virtual network exclusively dedicated to SIS II data and the exchange of supplementary information between Sirene Bureaux, as referred to in common Articles 4(1)(c) and 8(1) of the SIS II legal instruments. Only if this channel is not available, another adequately secured and appropriate means of communication may be used. The ability to choose the channel means that it shall be determined on a case-by-case basis, according to technical possibilities and the security and quality requirements that the communications have to meet.
Written messages shall be divided into two categories: free text and standard forms. Appendix 3 describes the forms exchanged between Sirene Bureaux and set out guidance on the expected content of the fields, including whether they are mandatory or not.
There shall be four different mailboxes within the abovementioned network for free text messages and Sirene forms.
|Operationalfirstname.lastname@example.org||Used for the exchange of forms and attachments between Sirene Bureaux|
|Technicalemail@example.com||Used for e-mail exchange between the technical support staff of the Sirene Bureaux|
|Head of Sirenefirstname.lastname@example.org||Used for e-mail exchange with the Heads of the Sirene Bureaux|
|email@example.com||Used for free text message exchange between Sirene Bureaux|
For testing purposes a second domain exists <*> (testxx.sirenemail2.eu) within which any of the mailboxes in the table above may be replicated for test purposes without interfering with the live message exchange and workflow environment.
<*> This second domain exists in the technical “pre-production environment”.
The detailed rules on Sirene mailboxes and transmission of Sirene forms described in DEBS shall apply.
The Sirene workflow system (see Section 1.12) shall monitor the operational and e-mail mailboxes (“oper” and “message”) to detect incoming forms, related e-mails and attachments. Urgent messages shall only be sent to the operational mailbox.
1.10.4. Communication in exceptional circumstances
Where normal communication channels are not available and it is necessary to send standard forms by fax, for example, the procedure described in DEBS shall apply.
1.11. SIRENE ADDRESS BOOK (SAB)
The contact details of the Sirene Bureaux and relevant information for mutual communication and cooperation are collected and provided in the Sirene Address Book (SAB). The Commission will update the SAB. The updated SAB shall be issued by the Commission at least twice per year. Each Sirene Bureau shall ensure that:
(a) information from the SAB is not disclosed to third parties;
(b) the SAB is known and used by the Sirene staff;
(c) any update of the information listed in the SAB is provided without delay to the Commission.
1.12. SIRENE WORKFLOW SYSTEM
The effective management of the Sirene Bureaux’ workload can be best achieved through each Sirene Bureau having a computerised management system (workflow system), which allows a great deal of automation in the management of the daily workflow.
The Sirene Bureau may have a back-up computer and database system for its workflow at a secondary site in case of a serious emergency at the Sirene Bureau. This should include sufficient back-up power and communication supply.
Appropriate IT support should be provided for Sirene workflow to ensure its high availability.
1.13. TIME LIMITS FOR RESPONSE
The Sirene Bureau shall answer all requests for information on alerts and hit procedures, made by the other Member States via their Sirene Bureaux, as soon as possible. In any event a response shall be given within 12 hours. (See also Section 1.13.1 on indication of urgency in Sirene forms.)
Priorities in daily work shall be based on the category of alert and the importance of the case.
1.13.1. Indication of urgency in Sirene forms including urgent reporting of a hit
Sirene forms to be dealt with by the requested Sirene Bureau with highest priority may be marked “URGENT”, in field 311 (“Important Notice”), followed by the reason for urgency. The reason for urgency shall be explained in the appropriate fields of the Sirene forms. Telephone communication or notification may also be used where an urgent response is required.
Where the circumstances of a hit on an alert dictate, such as a case of genuine urgency or significant importance, the Sirene Bureau of the Member State that matched the alert shall, where appropriate, inform the Sirene Bureau of the issuing Member State of the hit by telephone after sending a G form.
1.14. TRANSLITERATION/TRANSCRIPTION RULES
The transliteration and transcription definitions and rules are set out in Appendix 1. They shall be respected in the communication between Sirene Bureaux (see also Section 2.10 on entering proper names).
1.15. DATA QUALITY
Pursuant to Article 7(2) of the SIS II legal instruments, Sirene Bureaux shall coordinate the verification of the quality of the information entered in the SIS II. Sirene Bureaux should have the necessary national competence to perform this role. Therefore, an adequate form of national data quality audit should be provided for, including a review of the rate of alerts/hits and of data content.
In order to allow each Sirene Bureau to perform its role of data quality verification coordinator, the necessary IT support and appropriate rights within the systems should be available.
National standards for training users on data quality principles and practice should be established in cooperation with the national Sirene Bureau. Member States may call upon the staff of the Sirene Bureaux to be involved in the training of all authorities entering alerts, stressing data quality and maximisation of the use of SIS II.
(a) Each Member State shall establish conditions for storing information.
(b) The Sirene Bureau of the issuing Member State shall keep all information on its own alerts available to the other Member States, including a reference to the decision giving rise to the alert.
(c) The archives of each Sirene Bureau shall allow swift access to the relevant information to meet the very short deadlines for transmitting information.
(d) In accordance with Article 12(4) of the SIS II legal instruments personal data, held in files by the Sirene Bureau as a result of exchanging information, shall be kept only for such time as may be required to achieve the purposes for which they were supplied. As a rule, this information shall be deleted immediately after the related alert has been deleted from SIS II, and in any event at the latest one year thereafter. However, data relating to a particular alert which a Member State has entered or to an alert in connection with which action has been taken on its territory may be stored for longer in accordance with national law.
(e) Supplementary information sent by other Member States shall be stored according to national data protection laws in the recipient Member State. Common Article 12 of the SIS II legal instruments, the Directive 95/46/EC and Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA also apply.
(f) Information on misused identity shall be deleted after the deletion of the relevant alert.
(g) Access to archives shall be recorded, controlled and restricted to designated staff.
A high level of experienced staff leads to a workforce able to function on their own initiative and thereby able to handle cases efficiently. Therefore a low turnover of personnel is desirable, which requires the unambiguous support of management to create a devolved working environment. Member States are encouraged to take appropriate measures to avoid loss of qualification and experience caused by staff turnover.
1.17.1. Heads of Sirene Bureaux
The Heads of Sirene Bureaux should meet at least twice a year to assess the quality of the cooperation between their services, to discuss necessary technical or organisational measures in the event of any difficulties and to clarify procedures where required. The meeting of the Heads of Sirene Bureaux is organised by the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
1.17.2. Sirene Contact Person (SIRCoP)
In cases where standard procedures may be insufficient, the Sirene Contact Person (SIRCoP) may deal with files on which progress is complex, problematic or sensitive and a degree of quality assurance and/or longer term contact with another Sirene Bureau may be required in order to resolve the issue. The SIRCoP is not intended for urgent cases where the 24/7 front desk services shall in principle be used.
The SIRCoP may formulate proposals to enhance quality and describe options to resolve such issues in the longer term.
As a general rule SIRCoP are contactable by another SIRCoP only during office hours.
An annual assessment shall be carried out within the framework of the annual statistical reporting as it is set out in Appendix 5 based upon the following indicators:
(a) number of SIRCoP interventions per Member State;
(b) reason for contact;
(c) result of the interventions based on information available during the reporting period.
Sirene Bureau staff shall have linguistic skills covering as wide a range of languages as possible and on-duty staff shall be able to communicate with all Sirene Bureaux.
They shall have the necessary knowledge on:
– national, European and international legal aspects.
– their national law enforcement authorities, and
– national and European judiciary and immigration administration systems.
They need to have the authority to deal independently with any incoming case.
Operators on duty outside office hours shall have the same competence, knowledge and authority and it should be possible for them to refer to experts available on-call.
Legal expertise to cover both normal and exceptional cases should be available in the Sirene Bureau. Depending on the case, this may be provided by any personnel with the necessary legal background or experts from judicial authorities.
At the national level, sufficient training shall ensure that staff meet the required standards laid down in this Manual. Before being authorised to process data stored in the SIS II, staff shall in particular receive appropriate training about data security and data protection rules and shall be informed of any relevant criminal offences and penalties.
Common training courses shall be organised at least once a year, to enhance cooperation between Sirene Bureaux by allowing staff to meet colleagues from other Sirene Bureaux, share information on national working methods and create a consistent and equivalent level of knowledge. It will furthermore make staff aware of the importance of their work and the need for mutual solidarity in view of the common security of Member States.
The delivery of training should be in compliance with the Sirene Trainers Manual.
Article 3 of Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council <*> sets out that the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (the Agency) shall perform tasks relating to training on the technical use of SIS II, in particular for Sirene staff.
<*> Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 of 25 October 2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (OJ L 286, 1.11.2011, p. 1).
1.17.5. Exchange of staff
As far as possible, Sirene Bureaux should also foresee setting up staff exchanges with other Sirene Bureaux at least once a year. These exchanges are intended to help improve staff knowledge of working methods, to show how other Sirene Bureaux are organised and to establish personal contacts with colleagues in other Member States.
- GENERAL PROCEDURES
The procedures described below are applicable to all categories of alerts. The procedures specific to each category of alert can be found in the relevant parts of this Manual.
“Issuing Member State”: Member State which entered the alert in SIS II;
“Executing Member State”: Member State which takes the required actions following a hit;
“Providing Sirene Bureau”: Sirene Bureau of a Member State which has fingerprints or pictures of the person for whom an alert was entered by another Member State.
“Hit”: a hit occurs in SIS II when:
(a) a search is conducted by a user,
(b) the search reveals a foreign alert in SIS II,
(c) data concerning the alert in SIS II matches the search data, and
(d) further actions are requested as a result of the hit
“Flag”: a suspension of validity at the national level that may be added to alerts for arrest, alerts on missing persons and alerts for checks, where a Member State considers that to give effect to an alert is incompatible with its national law, its international obligations or essential national interests. When the alert is flagged, the requested action on the basis of the alert shall not be taken on the territory of this Member State.
2.2. MULTIPLE ALERTS (ARTICLE 34(6) OF THE SIS II REGULATION AND ARTICLE 49(6) OF THE SIS II DECISION)
Only one alert per Member State may be entered in SIS II for any one person or object.
Therefore, wherever possible and necessary, second and subsequent alerts on the same person or object shall be kept available at national level so that they can be introduced when the first alert expires or is deleted.
Several alerts may be entered by different Member States for the same subjects. It is essential that this does not cause confusion to users, and that it is clear to them what measures must be taken when seeking to enter an alert and which procedure shall be followed when a hit occurs. Procedures shall therefore be established for detecting multiple alerts, as shall a priority mechanism for entering them in SIS II.
This calls for:
– checks before entering an alert, in order to determine whether the subject is already in SIS II,
– consultation with the other Member States, when the entry of an alert causes multiple alerts that are incompatible.
2.2.1. Compatibility of alerts
Several Member States may enter an alert on the same person or object if the alerts are compatible.
Table of compatibility of alerts on persons
|Order of importance||Alert for arrest||Alert for refusal of entry||Alert on missing person (protection)||Alert for specific check – immediate action||Alert for specific check||Alert for discreet check – immediate action||Alert for discreet check||Alert on missing person (whereabouts)||Alert for judicial procedure|
|Alert for arrest||yes||yes||yes||no||no||no||no||yes||yes|
|Alert for refusal of entry||yes||yes||no||no||no||no||no||no||no|
|Alert on missing person (protection)||yes||no||yes||no||no||no||no||yes||yes|
|Alert for specific check – immediate action||no||no||no||yes||yes||no||no||no||no|
|Alert for specific check||no||no||no||yes||yes||no||no||no||no|
|Alert for discreet check – immediate action||no||no||no||no||no||yes||yes||no||no|
|Alert for discreet check||no||no||no||no||no||yes||yes||no||no|
|Alert on missing person (whereabouts)||yes||no||yes||no||no||no||no||yes||yes|
|Alert for judicial procedure||yes||no||yes||no||no||no||no||yes||yes|
Table of compatibility for alerts on objects
|Order of importance||Alert for use as evidence||Document invalidated for travel purposes||Alert for seizure||Alert for specific check – immediate action||Alert for specific check||Alert for discreet check – immediate action||Alert for discreet check|
|Alert for use as evidence||yes||yes||yes||no||no||no||no|
|Document invalidated for travel purposes||yes||yes||yes||no||no||no||no|
|Alert for seizure||yes||yes||yes||no||no||no||no|
|Alert for specific check – immediate action||no||no||no||yes||yes||no||no|
|Alert for specific check||no||no||no||yes||yes||no||no|
|Alert for discreet check – immediate action||no||no||no||no||no||yes||yes|
|Alert for discreet check||no||no||no||no||no||yes||yes|
2.2.2. Order of priority of alerts
In case of incompatible alerts the order of priority for alerts on persons shall be as follows:
– arrest with a view to surrender or extradition (Article 26 of Decision),
– refusing entry or stay in the Schengen territory (Article 24 of Regulation),
– placing under protection (Article 32 of Decision),
– specific check – immediate action (Article 36 of Decision),
– specific check (Article 36 of Decision),
– discreet check – immediate action (Article 36 of Decision),
– discreet check (Article 36 of Decision),
– communicating whereabouts (Articles 32 and 34 of the Decision).
The order of priority for alerts on objects shall be as follows:
– use as evidence (Article 38 of Decision),
– seizure of document invalidated for travel purposes (Article 38 of Decision),
– seizure (Article 38 of Decision),
– specific check – immediate action (Article 36 of Decision),
– specific check (Article 36 of Decision),
– discreet check – immediate action (Article 36 of Decision),
– discreet check (Article 36 of Decision),
Departures from this order of priority may be made after consultation between the Member States if essential national interests are at stake.
2.2.3. Checking for incompatibility and entering multiple alerts
In order to avoid incompatible multiple alerts, it is important to distinguish accurately between persons or objects that have similar characteristics. Consultation and cooperation between the Sirene Bureaux is therefore essential, and each Member State shall establish appropriate technical procedures to detect such cases before an entry is made.
The Sirene Bureau shall ensure that only one alert exists in SIS II in accordance with national procedure if a request for an alert conflicts with an alert entered by the same Member State.
The following procedure shall apply in order to verify if multiple alerts exist on the same person or same object:
(a) The mandatory identity description elements shall be compared when establishing the existence of multiple alerts:
(i) on a person:
– date of birth,
(ii) on a vehicle:
– the VIN,
– the registration number and country of registration,
– the make,
– the type;
(iii) on an aircraft:
– category of aircraft,
– ICAO registration number;
(iv) on a boat:
– category of boat,
– number of hulls,
– boat external identification number (not mandatory but may be used);
(v) on a container:
– BIC number <*>.
<*> Certain transportation companies use other reference numbers. SIS II has a provision for entering serial numbers other than the BIC.
(b) When entering a new alert on a vehicle or other object with a VIN or registration number see procedures in Section 8.2.1.
(c) For other objects, the most appropriate fields for identifying multiple alerts are the mandatory fields, all of which are to be used for automatic comparison by the system.
The procedures described in Section 8.2.1 (checking for multiple alerts on a vehicle) shall be used to distinguish between other categories of objects in SIS II when it becomes apparent that two similar objects have the same serial number.
If the outcome of the check is that the details relate to two different persons or objects, the Sirene Bureau shall approve the request for entering the new alert <*>.
<*> Due to the lack of standardisation in serial numbers for objects it is possible, for example, for two different firearms of different makes to have the same serial number. Equally it is possible for an object to have the same serial number as a very different object, for example, an issued document and a piece of industrial equipment. Where it is clear that the serial numbers are identical but the objects are clearly not the same no consultation between Sirene Bureaux is required. Users may be made aware that this situation can arise. Additionally, it is possible that an object, such as a passport or car, has been stolen and reported in one country and is subsequently reported in the country of origin. This could result in two alerts for the same object. If this matter comes to light it may be resolved by the Sirene Bureaux concerned.
If the check for multiple alerts reveals that the details are identical and relate to the same person or object, the Sirene Bureau of the Member State which intends to enter a new alert shall consult the Sirene Bureau of the issuing Member State if the alerts are incompatible.
The following procedure shall apply to verify the compatibility of alerts:
(a) prior to entering an alert it is mandatory to carry out a check to ensure that there are no incompatible alerts;
(b) if another alert exists which is compatible, the Sirene Bureaux do not need to consult one another. However, if there is a need to clarify whether the alert relates to the same person the Sirene Bureau shall consult the Sirene Bureau of the issuing Member State using the L form;
(c) if the alerts are incompatible, the Sirene Bureaux shall consult one another using an E form so that ultimately only one alert is entered;
(d) alerts for arrest shall be entered immediately without awaiting the result of any consultation with other Member States;
(e) if an alert that is incompatible with existing alerts is given priority as the outcome of consultation, the Member States that entered the other alerts shall delete them when the new alert is entered. Any disputes shall be settled by Member States via the Sirene Bureaux;
(f) Member States who were not able to enter an alert may subscribe to be notified by the CS-SIS about the deletion of the alert;
(g) the Sirene Bureau of the Member State that was not able to enter the alert may request that the Sirene Bureau of the Member State that entered the alert informs it of a hit on this alert.
2.2.4. Special situation of the United Kingdom and Ireland
The United Kingdom and Ireland do not take part in the SIS II Regulation therefore they cannot access the alerts on refusal of entry or stay (Articles 24 and 26 of the SIS II Regulation). They shall, nevertheless, be bound by the rules on compatibility of alerts as set out in Section 2.2 and in particular they shall apply the procedure referred in Section 2.2.3.
The following procedure shall apply:
(a) Should the United Kingdom or Ireland enter an alert which is potentially incompatible with an existing alert on refusal of entry or stay in accordance with Section 2.2.1 the Central SIS II notifies these two Member States on the potential incompatibility by communicating only the Schengen ID of the existing alert.
(b) Should an alert inserted by the United Kingdom or Ireland be notified of a potential incompatibility with an alert on refusal of entry or stay entered by another Member State, the Sirene Bureau of the United Kingdom or Ireland shall initiate a consultation with the issuing Member State by using free text message and shall delete the potentially incompatible alert during the consultation.
(c) Depending on the outcome of the consultation the United Kingdom or Ireland can reinsert an alert which has been shown to be compatible.
2.3. THE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION AFTER A HIT
If the user requires supplementary information after a hit, the Sirene Bureau shall contact the Sirene Bureau of the issuing Member State without delay and request the necessary information. Where appropriate, the Sirene Bureaux shall act as intermediaries between the national authorities and shall provide and exchange supplementary information pertinent to the alert in question.
Unless stated otherwise, the issuing Member State shall be informed of the hit and its outcome (see also Section 1.13.1 on indication of urgency)
The following procedure shall apply:
(a) Without prejudice to Section 2.4 of this Manual, one hit on an individual or an object for which an alert has been entered, shall in principle be communicated to the Sirene Bureau of the issuing Member State using one G form.
(b) When notifying the issuing Member State of a hit, the applicable article of the SIS II legal instruments shall be indicated in field 090 of the G form, including additional information if necessary (e.g. MINOR).
The G form shall provide as much information as possible on the hit, including on the action taken in field 088. Provision of supplementary information may be requested from the issuing Member State in field 089.
(c) If the Sirene Bureau of the executing Member State intends to provide further information after a G form has been sent, it shall use an M form.
(d) If necessary, the Sirene Bureau of the issuing Member State shall then send any relevant, specific information and indicate any particular measures that it requests the Sirene Bureau of the executing Member State to take.
For the reporting procedure on hits achieved via Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems see Section 9.
2.4. WHEN THE PROCEDURES FOLLOWING A HIT CANNOT BE FOLLOWED (ARTICLE 48 OF THE SIS II DECISION AND ARTICLE 33 OF THE SIS II REGULATION)
In accordance with Article 48 of the SIS II Decision and Article 33 of the SIS II Regulation, the following procedure shall apply:
(a) the Member State, which is on the basis of all available information definitely unable to follow the procedure, shall inform the issuing Member State via its Sirene Bureau that it is not able to perform the requested action, and give the reasons in field 083 of an H form;
(b) the Member States concerned may agree on the action to be taken in line with their own national laws and the SIS II legal instruments.