UK warned by Police and Crime Commissioners that security is threatened after Brexit.
Public safety would be jeopardized if there is no Brexit deal because the UK will lose access to EU crime databases, police leaders warned today (August 7, 2018).
Officers will face “a significant loss of operational capacity”, according to a letter from the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) in a letter addressed to Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
They were responding to a speech given in Vienna by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in which he outlined the bloc’s position on the “new relationship” with Britain regarding judicial and criminal matters.
Barnier’s approach runs contrary to the UK’s hope to maintain close security links through existing EU programs. The UK has a stated position of maintaining the capability to catch criminals in its approach to security arrangements post-Brexit.
The APCC - representing a number of the 40 police and crime commissioners in the UK - declared in its letter to the home secretary that, as of now, there are 32 different national security and law enforcement measures that they can participate in and make use of due to their EU membership.
The EU has said that once the UK leaves the bloc, it will be excluded from these tools including the European Arrest Warrant and EU crime databases. Barnier has called for “more realism” from UK on what degree of police and judicial cooperation would be possible after Brexit - and said there would be a need for mutual “safeguards”, including UK’s continued membership of the European Convention on Human Rights.
1,735 arrests were made in the UK in 2017. The Schengen Information System (SIS) - a database listing people, vehicles and weapons - was checked 539 million times by British officers in the same year.
APCC warns that: ”considerable additional resource would be required for policing to operate using non-EU tools and that such tools would be suboptimal — potentially putting operational efficiency and public safety at risk,”.
Barnier is on record as describing the EU’s present level of cooperation in intelligence matters as “unique” and “unprecedented,” made possible from “trust between member-states.”
“This trust does not fall from the sky and is founded by our common ecosystem… leave this ecosystem you lose these benefits,” the Brexit negotiator said.
Barnier laid out four pillars that govern the EU’s negotiating position on the future relationship with the UK: effective exchange of information; cooperation between law-enforcement officials; measures against illegal financial activities committed by terrorists; and judicial cooperation in criminal matters through strategic evidence sharing.
However, these pillars do not grant the U.K. access to Europol databases and Schengen Information System. which contain information about people, weapons and vehicles involved in crimes. And the UK loses the right to participate in the European Arrest Warrant because “the U.K. is not ready to accept the free movement of people” according to Barnier.
In 2017, the U.K. contributed over 6,000 pieces of information to the Europol Serious and Organised Crime Analysis Projects, according to a negotiating document published by the British government last month, more than any other EU country.
Since 2004, the U.K. has surrendered over 10,000 individuals under the European Arrest Warrant.
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