SCOTLAND is braced to carry out record extraditions as the UK finally gets access to Europe's list of wanted criminals.

Police, prosecutors and justice officials aim to send more people overseas to face justice, and get more Scottish suspects back, when a new EU crime database that goes live in Britain on Monday.

The courts expect to be so busy that the number of Scottish sheriffs trained to handled such cases has jumped 50 per cent.

Held up by Eurosceptics in Westminster, the UK only signed up to the Schengen Information System or SIS II database last year.

Since then the detailed of some 40,000 wanted criminals and missing persons from most of the EU have been uploaded from SIS II on to the UK's Police National Computer or PNC.

Starting Monday, any police officer checking names in Police National Computer will see if the person they are looking at is wanted elsewhere in Europe.

David Dickson, the prosecutor who handles Scotland's extraditions at the Crown Office's International Co-operation Unit, stressed there was already an increasingly busy conveyor belt of extraditions.

Police Scotland in its first two years arrested 183 people, Scots and foreign nationals, wanted overseas, around a quarter of them since New Year. It has also successfully repatriated 32 people to face trial here.

Mr Dickson said: "Schengen is going to make a big difference. We are already moving towards 100 extraditions a year.

"The number of cases we have going through the courts just now is the biggest we have ever had.

"There are something like 50 live cases and seven appeals.

"That may not sound a huge number in relation to the whole prosecution work a huge number, but it is a big increase and it can only rise with Schengen."

"The Home Office estimate that there will be a tripling of the work

"There are are now six sheriffs trained to handle extraditions, up from three or four. We are more ready to cope with Schengen."

European nations have been working together under the Schengen agreement, named after a Luxembourg village that borders with both France and Germany, for decades.

Britain has opted out of a the part of the deal that allows border-free movements from Iceland to Sicily.

Last year the UK agreed to continue with European Arrest Warrants, the instruments currently used to make sure Scotland and the rest of Britain are not used as a safe haven by foreign criminals.

Under pressure from anti-EU elements in her won party, Theresa May had considered dropping them. It sparked uproar from senior police officers who highlighted cases, such as that of the Slovakian who murdered Moira Jones in Queen's Park, Glasgow, in 2008.

Marek Harcar was quickly returned to face trial in Glasgow after fleeing to his native Slovakia.

The Schengen SIS II database means that Scottish police can now see European Arrest Warrants issued for all signed-up member states, and not just those that are directly specifically to them.

Mr Dickson explained: "The Schengen deal means that if a police officer stops a person in Cambuslang they can find out if they are wanted abroad, even if the requesting state did not know that he or she was in Scotland.

"This is not a Big Brother type of thing. This is a greater opportunity now for the police to protect the public by knowing who is actually here."

Foreign nationals currently feature in about nine per cent of all police incidents involve a foreign national, a figure thought to have more than doubled since mass EU migration began a decade ago.

However, this number suggests they are about as likely to be involved in a crime, as victim or perpetrator, as a Scottish-born person.

The Schengen deal means that wanted criminals entering the UK should be stopped and arrested at airports. It does not mean that people with criminal convictions cannot enter the country if they have already served their time. Harcar, for example, had already been jailed for violent crimes.

Schengen also means that anyone wanted by the police in Scotland will be flagged up on the national police databases in 24 EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.