As the Brexit negotiations draws to tortuous end with either a deal or no deal, what has received little attention and was not written on the side of the bus the effect it will have either way on Policing and its relationship with European counties. With the Police Service under increasing pressure, it will lose some important aspects in the fight against organised international crime. Europol based in Holland which is the criminal intelligence agency will no longer be available to UK Police Forces. This is at a time when organised crime in people trafficking drug trafficking and money laundering is increasing in the UK. Just this year we had illegal immigrants landing in Newlyn and the tragic deaths of Vietnamese immigrants in Essex. The Devon and Cornwall coastline has been used in the past for landing large scale drug shipments. We will drop out of the fast-track European arrest warrant protocol which means that instead of a week’s turnaround for suspects there will have to be lengthy extraditions hearings in both in UK and European courts and this could take months in individual cases.
We will lose access to advance passenger manifests for flights and ferries emanating from Europe to screen for criminal and terrorists attempting to enter the UK. The Government has stated that it will exclude any person with a significant criminal past from to the UK as part of a new immigration policy again with the loss of Europol that will not be possible. As a former copper on the Regional Crime Squad, I was involved in many pre-Europol investigations and relied on several personal contacts in some European countries to move investigations on. It will mean the Government to establish 27 bilateral agreements with European States a lengthy and uncertain process. Something as simple as a car registration check or verification of identity will need a “letter of request” from the CPS to the competent judicial authority in the Country concerned. This will have an unwanted effect on a Governments duty to protect the nation from external and internal threats.
Brian Blake Lib Dem candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner