Glenis Willmott has warned that the Government would be putting the safety of British citizens at risk if it continues to try and go it alone on crime and justice, and opt out of EU co-operation measures, which are vital in the fight against crime in the UK.
Commenting on today’s House of Lords Report on EU police and criminal justice measures, the Leader of Labour’s MEPs said it was clear that any UK opt-out could have “negative repercussions” for UK internal security.
Glenis said: “We now live in a world where crime, especially terrorist crime, is global and the need for law enforcement agencies to cooperate across borders is vital.
“Yet the Government so far has seemed hell-bent on pulling out of some 130 European police and judicial cooperation measures, including the European Arrest Warrant.
“There’s no doubt that this needs urgent reform, but it has made it possible for British victims to get justice by reducing extradition times from several months to 48 hours. The UK will be forced to revert to slower, less efficient agreements with individual countries making it more difficult for the UK police force to do their job.”
The Government has faced overwhelming opposition from influential groups including the UK Police Force, the Law Society of England and Wales and a pressure group called ‘Justice Across Borders’ who have pleaded with them to re-think their strategy at a time where cross-border crime is on the increase.
“Under the guise of repatriating powers back to Britain, real evidence shows that a UK opt out from the EU Justice and Home Affairs co-operation could have devastating effects on our criminal and justice system.
“Today’s damning report by the House of Lords confirms these fears and goes even further saying that such a decision would have serious implications for the UK’s internal security.”