Dismore questions Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner and Deputy Mayor over Brexit and serious implications of ‘no deal’
At this week’s London Assembly Police and Crime Committee Andrew Dismore AM, Labour London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, questioned Cressida Dick Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Craig Mackey Deputy Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Policing Sophie Linden over the implications of Brexit for policing and security. The Deputy Commissioner confirmed that we will be less safe as a result of Brexit.
Mr Dismore put to the Police Commissioners:
‘In September last year we heard that the Government proposed the creation of a new security treaty. Last November the Deputy Mayor told us that if there was no clear understanding of post Brexit security arrangements by early 2018 it would raise serious concerns. The main forms of security cooperation are Europol, of which we not be able to remain members post Brexit; the European Arrest Warrant, which the EU chief negotiator says will not apply post Brexit; and information sharing, most of the arrangements for which won’t apply either. Are you now planning for a possible ‘no-deal’ situation?’
The Commissioner confirmed that they were. The details then given by the Deputy Commissioner are very concerning, especially over access to information exchange in real time and the impact on police resources; and the Deputy Mayor said that progress had not been made on the six security red lines the Mayor has set out: Europol; the European Arrest Warrant; the Schengen Information System II; EU Passenger Name Records; the European Criminal Records Information System; and Prüm arrangements (access to DNA profiles).
The Commissioner also confirmed for the first time, that no deal contingency arrangements concerned public order risks due to shortages of food, pharmaceuticals, at the borders and long queues at the ports.
The Deputy Mayor, giving figures, reiterated her extreme concern and said that she and the Mayor were trying to get a meeting with Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab MP.
Mr Dismore said:
‘The lack of progress on the issue of police and security is deeply disturbing. From counter terrorism to overseas offenders entering the country, we will be less safe in the absence of arrangements that replicate what we now have. This is now very unlikely: the only other agreement – with Iceland and Norway- took 13 years to negotiate. This is extremely serious and every time we ask about Brexit a new angle appears, this time on public order. The Government have made an appalling mess of the negotiations, and the result is that Londoners will be less safe’.
Notes for editors:
EU Exit, security and policing
The UK’s security relationship with the EU covers various forms of operational and strategic cooperation, including the exchange of a wide range of criminal data and intelligence, speedy extradition arrangements, and collaboration between Member States’ policing agencies on cross-European investigations. Over the years of its EU membership, the UK has negotiated a bespoke arrangement on justice and home affairs (JHA), which has allowed for its selective participation in measures considered to be in the national interest.
|The main forms of security cooperation between the UK and the EU: Europol coordinates cooperation in policing across Europe and enables law enforcement officers from across the EU to work together on joint investigations, access a variety of Europol services, including forensics, analysis and training, communicate with ease, and share data on operational and intelligence matters. While Europol has a strong record of operational co-operation with non-EU countries, its membership is limited to EU member states.
The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) allows for the extradition of individuals between EU member states, so that the individual can face prosecution in the country that they are wanted, or serve a prison sentence for an existing conviction. The EAW replaces lengthy extradition procedures and prevents EU countries from refusing to surrender individuals to another EU country. In 2015-16, just over 14,000 EAW requests were made to the UK, and the UK made 241 requests.
Information sharing about people wanted under EAW is stored on Schengen Information System II database, which provides real time alerts to police forces. The database also includes information, for example, on suspect foreign fighters and missing people. Other EU-wide databases and information that the UK currently has access to include, for example, DNA and fingerprint databases (Prüm arrangements); the European Criminal Records Information System, which allows for the exchange of information about criminal convictions; and the Passenger Name Records system, which collects data from travel carriers, such as contact details and travel itinerary for people flying into the EU.
The Government published a position paper on security, law enforcement and criminal justice on 18 September 2017. It proposed the creation of a new security treaty between the UK and the EU following Brexit, which would provide a legal basis to maintain the current arrangements for cooperation and leave open opportunities to “build upon and enhance” those arrangements in the future.
The Mayor has set out six ‘red lines’ where he believes moving away from current arrangements “is simply not an option”. This includes, for example, the EAW. However, the EU’s chief negotiator has indicated that the UK will no longer be part of the EAW once it leaves the EU and that a “streamlined” extradition process will have to be negotiated instead. Norway and Iceland are the only countries to have negotiated a surrender agreement with the EU that shares many of the benefits of the EAW: that, however, took 13 years to negotiate and has still not be fully ratified.
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) recently wrote to the Home Secretary to set out its concerns about the Government and the EU being unable to negotiate a security treaty which allows access to EU databases and other instruments. The letter states that “through discussions with the NCA and NPCC, we understand that considerable additional resource would be required for policing to operate using non-EU tools and that such tools would be sub-optimal – potentially putting operational efficiency and public safety at risk”. The APCC calls for contingency plans to be in place by March 2019. The DMPC has previously made similar comments, suggesting in November 2017 that “If we do not have a clear understanding of that by the first quarter of the new year [i.e. Q1 2018], we are going to start to be seriously concerned about what that means for individual police inquiries and individual police operations.”
 The number of requests received by the UK does not represent the number of wanted people in the UK. Some member states issue requests to numerous member states when they do not know where a subject may be. See National Crime Agency, Historical European Arrest Warrants statistics: Calendar and Financial year totals 2004 – May 2016, May 2016
 House of Commons, Brexit: implications for policing and criminal justice cooperation, 24 February 2017
 HM Government, Britain seeks comprehensive security and law enforcement partnership with EU after Brexit, 18 September 2017
 These are Europol; the European Arrest Warrant; the Schengen Information System II; EU Passenger Name Records; the European Criminal Records Information System; and Prüm arrangements (access to DNA profiles, fingerprint data and vehicle registrations). See Mayor of London, Mayor’s six security red lines on Brexit, 19 October 2017
 Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Letter to the Secretary of State for the Home Office, 2 August 2018