Following a decision by the Council of the European Union on 12 February, the UK this week gained access to the Schengen Information System II, a shared database that stores biometric data. Described by the EU as a key tool for national authorities to cooperate to fight terrorism and serious organised crime, the SIS supports external border control and law enforcement cooperation in the Schengen States.However, the UK as of yet only operates the SIS II within the context of law enforcement cooperation.The SIS II went into operation in April 2013, adding the ossibility to enter biometrics (fingerprints and photographs), new types of alerts (stolen aircrafts, boats, containers, means of payment), or the possibility to link different alerts (such as an alert on a person and a vehicle).SIS II will also contain copies of European Arrest Warrants (EAW) attached directly to alerts for persons wanted for arrest, surrender or extradition, making it easier and quicker for the competent authorities to ensure the necessary follow-up.