Failure to secure a new agreement on policing and criminal justice after Brexit will make it harder to extradite dangerous criminals from the UK and reduce the number of people brought back to the UK to face justice.
Negotiating Brexit: policing and criminal justice says that without a new agreement, the UK will fall back on the patchwork of insufficient security arrangements that predate EU cooperation. Currently, the UK uses the European Arrest Warrant to extradite more than 1000 people a year – under the previous, politicised system of extradition the figure was less than 60.
It will also be harder to bring people who are suspected of committing crimes back to the UK to face trial. UK authorities will lose access to huge EU-wide databases and prosecutors will face difficulty collaborating with EU partners without initiatives like Europol.
The report explains how the UK has the most bespoke deal on policing cooperation of any EU country, but it will not be able to maintain this once it has left. The EU has not accepted the UK’s proposal of an overarching security agreement and is offering only slightly better arrangements than those it has with other 'third countries' including Canada and Norway. The report argues that this does not recognise the UK’s contribution to EU-wide policing, or the UK already trying to allay concerns around human rights.
While trade dominates the negotiations, maintaining law enforcement cooperation is of huge mutual benefit. The report offers two main recommendations for the way both sides can break the impasse:
- The EU should acknowledge that the UK is a special partner in this area and accept the UK’s proposal of a comprehensive security agreement.
- The UK Government should recognise that it cannot maintain all its current special arrangements and provide reassurance that after Brexit it will take the protection of personal data seriously. These would be evidence of a willingness to compromise and show the other EU countries that the UK is a valuable partner.