Ham and High Column – post Brexit security arrangements

The spotlight has been on the trade negotiations with the EU, heading for ‘no deal’.- a failure because of the Conservative Government’s ‘little Englander’ ideology, put way above commonsense and the good of the country. But far less light has shone on the failure of policing and security arrangements. Boris Johnson is jeopardising our safety by losing access to vital policing tools which put dangerous criminals behind bars.

I asked Police Commissioner Cressida Dick about this at the Assembly Police Committee in November. She said she had not been privy to the EU negotiations around policing and  security and did not know what arrangements were going to be in place after Dec 31st, which I , and I am sure most people, find extraordinary.

She said we would be out of Europol, most concerning for fighting organised crime and terrorism.  The European Arrest Warrant – used repeatedly and for serious crime with over 16,000 EAW arrests since 2009- goes too.

Access remains unresolved to passenger name records (extremely important not least to counterterrorism). through the Schengen Information System –  the largest security and border management information sharing system in Europe, weakening our border controls.

The UK joined the Prüm Convention  in July 2019. This fingerprint sharing database has allowed UK police to make 89,000 matches. That also goes.

On 19th November, Assistant Commissioner Basu, counter terrorism head,  told the BBC: a no-deal Brexit, meant : “The country would be less safe in a non-negotiated outcome .. we’ve made it very clear that we need as much time to negotiate those agreements with our European counterparts as possible, and we can’t do that until the negotiations are finished.”

With only a couple of weeks to go, it’s clear that the replacement complex anti crime web we need  is not going to be there. Whist international criminals  recognise no borders, those fighting crime in the UK have one hand tied behind their backs.

Not reaching a trade deal is bad – but neglect of security demonstrates a failure by the Conservative Government in its primary duty- to keep us safe.