The way I read that statistic was people rejected at the border. I may have been wrong. Know of someone turned back at airport with old (but quite serious conviction). There's also comments on this very thread by people that have been questioned and bollocked about previous convictions (but ultimately let through). They do have access - through interpol. I know the plural of anecdote is not data but based on this it's clear they do (very) occasionally check (via Interpol). Read it in an article a while back about reciprocal agreements. Mostly to do with how the US made more demands of us than they were prepared to give. The actual specifics of PNC access was hidden until someone made the effort to make a FOI request. If the situation changes it will stay hidden until someone else does another FOI. It's not an absolute given just statistically very small. It's far from idiotic, to paraphrase what I was saying : if the consequences of being denied entry are dire, and you think you'll get through the interview, then you should seriously consider going Visa. Like I said, if you're not arsed go for it. Statistically you won't have a drama.