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MEP welcomes commissioner to Brussels for Brexit security talks

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Sir Julian King, Lord Willy Bach, MEP Rory Palmer

Lord Willy Bach, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland met with the EU Security Union Commissioner, Sir Julian King, earlier this week. The Commissioner raised concerns over the Brexit challenge confronting the police. The meeting was hosted by East Midlands MEP, Rory Palmer, who joined the talks, which focussed on the future of security collaboration after Britain’s departure from the EU.

Police chiefs have expressed fears of significant disruption to normal operations, which rely on 32 different law enforcement tools, accessed through Britain’s EU membership, including extradition procedures, DNA databases and participation in the highly-regarded crime fighting agency, EUROPOL.  The loss of access to European police records for international passengers arriving at East Midlands Airport has been flagged as a concern.

Security issues have not featured in the Brexit negotiations to date. A House of Lords report published in the summer suggested that UK government negotiators had spent little more than an hour talking about future of security collaboration with Europe. Sir Julian King confirmed that specific arrangements were yet to be discussed, including continued use of European Arrest Warrants, which allow the speedy extradition of wanted persons from one EU member state to another. Some non-EU countries, including Norway, have been locked in negotiations to secure access to this powerful mechanism for more than a decade.

Willy Bach, said: “It’s clear that, beyond conversations about the broad parameters for police collaboration, nothing will be done in this important area until a Brexit deal is agreed. This will leave precious little time to thrash out the security collaboration that will keep us all safe beyond 2020. And, there is also a very real risk that the talks will fail, forcing us to default back to historic protocols that were last used when Dixon of Dock Green was pounding the beat.

“This is quite intolerable and the government must get its act together. I will be raising these matters with my police and crime commissioner colleagues across the UK as a matter of urgency.”

East Midlands MEP, Rory Palmer said: “It was good to welcome Willy to Brussels. We had been hoping to secure answers to some very pressing questions; but worryingly, it’s now apparent that the questions haven’t even been placed on the negotiation table yet.

“These collaborative tools are as just as important as handcuffs, but there is no guarantee that our local police will have access to them after the Brexit transition period – and we must bear in mind that a transition hasn’t even been agreed yet.” 

Willy Bach and Rory Palmer also met with civil servants from the UK’s Permanent Representative to the European Union and senior MEP’s including Claude Moraes, the chair of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee – which leads on policing issues.

Ends

Image provided for use with this release:

  1.  Left to right, Rory Palmer MEP, Sir Julian King the EU Security Union Commissioner, Lord Willy Bach the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester. Leicestershire and Rutland
Posted on Friday 12th October 2018
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