UK minister warns EU counterparts of joint policing ‘disruption’

Javid says no deal in place for extradition, data sharing and arrest warrants after Brexit

British  Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Photograph:  Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

 

Britain’s home secretary, Sajid Javid, has urged his EU counterparts to prepare for the eventuality that current joint policing systems could discontinue on March 30th in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The EU and the UK have produced similar contingency plans for no-deal arrangements but Mr Javid has now written to member states appealing for them to “minimise operational disruption” by ensuring measures are in place on time.

He also warned that there is, as yet, no deal in place for sharing of airline passenger data, critical in the fight against criminals and terrorists who flee to another country to escape the law.

“I wanted to write to you now to ensure readiness for the alternative contingency arrangements should that become necessary,” wrote Mr Javid. “We must do all we can to minimise operational disruption in this vital area.

“Nothing matters more than keeping our citizens safe. I believe the public in every country would expect us to continue to cooperate on these matters as much as possible.”

There will also be issues with the exchange of DNA data, laws on extradition and the European Arrest Warrant, Mr Javid warned.

In a no-deal scenario, the UK will no longer participate in these systems or in Europol and will be treated like a third country with no operational agreements, although exchanges will be possible on an ad hoc basis, according to an EU Task Force 50 no-deal analysis produced in December.

Foreign suspects

The letter comes just days after a police chief warned that a no-deal Brexit would damage police powers to detain foreign suspects and leave British fugitives in Europe beyond the law.

Mr Javid warned there is “no non-EU fallback mechanism” for the exchange of airline passenger information.

The current passenger information exchange system, set up following a wave of Isis attacks, allows British airlines to add passenger names and other data to passenger information units (PIUs) in every EU state and EU airlines to transfer data to the UK’s PIU.

The home secretary warned that the UK is “looking to engage directly with the European Commission to safeguard our mutual interest” on this matter.

In a no-deal scenario, crime, security and justice-related data that would normally be shared through the Schengen Information System (SIS II) would now go through Interpol, Mr Javid said, asking each member state to be on standby to do the same if necessary.

Steve Peers, professor of EU law and human rights law at the University of Essex, said: “The home secretary’s letter admits what many law enforcement practitioners had warned: leaving the EU without an agreement leads to ‘less efficient’ and more costly methods of cooperation between justice and law enforcement officials.” – Guardian News and Media

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