Boris Johnson taking ‘reckless’ approach to crime-fighting by ditching European Arrest Warrant

PUBLISHED: 08:19 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:19 28 February 2020

Boris Johnson delivers a speech in front of police officers in West Yorkshire. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA.

Boris Johnson delivers a speech in front of police officers in West Yorkshire. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson is taking a ‘reckless’ approach to crime-fighting by ditching the European Arrest Warrant as part of Brexit talks.

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Supporters of the EAW argue that it has streamlined the extradition process within the EU and made it easier to ensure wanted persons are brought to justice.

Opponents have argued that it is used too frequently and favours procedural simplicity over the rights of suspects and defendants.

Boris Johnson's blueprint for a deal with the European Union confirmed that the UK would not seek to keep the arrangements but would instead aim for a fast-track extradition procedure with "further safeguards".

The negotiating guidelines said: "The UK is not seeking to participate in the European Arrest Warrant as part of the future relationship.

"The agreement should instead provide for fast-track extradition arrangements, based on the EU's surrender agreement with Norway and Iceland which came into force in 2019, but with appropriate further safeguards for individuals beyond those in the European Arrest Warrant."

But Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee warned that a new deal may not be in place before the prime minister's December 31 deadline.

The Labour MP said: "The government's new proposals for security co-operation with the EU are extremely worrying."

She said the new red lines "make it exceedingly difficult for anything more than the standard third-country relationship with the EU on security co-operation to be negotiated".

"That is not good enough and marks a huge scaling back in ambition.

"The government only have nine months before our existing security arrangements run out but the Committee was told that it could take up to 18 months to ratify a new security treaty and possibly much longer for new extradition arrangements to replace the European Arrest Warrant.

"It is completely astounding that the Government says that these new plans will make the country safer when we have been told time and time again by senior police officers and security experts that the opposite is true."

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokeswoman Christine Jardine said Johnson would leave the country less safe.

She said: "The first priority of any government should be to keep people safe.

"Instead, the Conservatives are robbing our police of a vital crime-fighting tool, and making it easier for thousands of dangerous criminals to evade justice.

"Boris Johnson's reckless decision to cut the UK off from the European Arrest Warrant will make our country less safe."

A Home Office spokesman said: "The safety and security of our citizens is the government's top priority, which is why we have said the agreement with the EU should provide for fast-track extradition arrangements based on the EU's arrangements with Norway and Iceland.

"These arrangements would include greater safeguards than those within the European Arrest Warrant.

"The UK will continue to be one of the safest countries in the world."

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