A no-deal Brexit will make it harder for police to protect UK citizens as forces fall back on “slower, more bureaucratic” systems, one of the country’s most senior officers has warned.
Sara Thornton, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, spoke as plans were unveiled for a new unit that will oversee how forces use alternative systems if the UK crashes out if the EU in the spring.
She said: “The fallbacks we’re going to have to use will be slower, will be more bureaucratic and it will make it harder for us to protect UK citizens and make it harder to protect EU citizens.”
There are 40 tools that UK law enforcement may lose access to, including the European Arrest Warrant and the Schengen Information System, which was accessed 539m times by British authorities last year alone.
Labour MP Virendra Sharma MP, a champion of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said it showed Brexit was “putting our vital security co-operation at risk”.
He said: “Organised crime and criminals do not stop at the cliffs of Dover, and Britain gains from being part of the European Arrest Warrant and Europol.
“Working together to catch criminals shows starkly how dangerous a no-deal brexit could be.
“For all these supposedly ‘law and order’ Conservatives to turn their backs on that shows how determined they are to pull up the drawbridge.
“They seem to want to go back to the bad old days of the Costa del Crime.’