Britain’s most senior police officer has warned that international crime fighting systems will be “clunkier, clumsier and more expensive” after Brexit if investigators are left with reduced access to information.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told a committee hearing at London’s City Hall that forces in the UK are “big users of a lot of the instruments and we are big contributors to Europol”, and that they use European Arrest Warrants “a huge amount”.
Security has become a key negotiating point between the UK government and Europe Union leaders, with Theresa May warning them last week that unless there is flexibility over the approach to Brexit their citizens could be less safe.
The prime minister used a summit in Brussels to put pressure on leaders to change the course of the negotiations or risk jeopardising co-operation which has helped tackle terrorism in the bloc.
Today, appearing at a Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime committee hearing, Ms Dick stressed that political negotiations were “nothing to do with” police officers.
But questioned about the effects of Brexit, she warned: “It is likely that if we are unable to access the same things in the same way that we do now that it will be, to coin a phrase, clunkier, clumsier and more expensive. Any replacement system.
“It’s important for us, we believe, in keeping London safe, to be able to have these accesses.”
The European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said that the UK will not be able to use European arrest warrants after Brexit, because of its refusal to accept free movement of people, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice or the application of the charter of fundamental rights.
Mrs May has urged EU leaders to allow UK involvement in systems such as networks to share DNA profiles and to issue “real time” alerts for wanted criminals, warning that the fight against terrorism would otherwise be undermined.