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Leaving the EU: Policing

Volume 622: debated on Monday 6 March 2017

4. What assessment she has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the relationship between British police forces and their counterparts in EU countries. (909049)

As the Prime Minister made clear in her Lancaster House speech in January, our commitment to co-operation with European partners on security and law enforcement will be undiminished by our leaving the European Union. The Home Office is working with operational law enforcement partners to examine all the different ways of delivering that result, and to find a practical, co-operative way of supplying certainty as we leave the EU.

The sharing of intelligence with our European counterparts is vital to the work of our police forces in keeping our citizens and country safe, and data-sharing underpins that co-operation. How will the Home Office meet the challenge of maintaining those arrangements when Britain has left the European Union?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The use of data is critical in our fight against cross-border crime and terrorism, and will always remain a priority for us. We value the co-operation that we have at present through the European Criminal Records Information System and the Schengen Information System. We want our future relationship with the EU to include practical arrangements so that we can engage with it on that basis, and I can reassure my hon. Friend that that is also what our EU partners want.

The Home Secretary’s predecessor, now the Prime Minister, said that ditching the European arrest warrant would make Britain

“a honeypot for all of Europe’s criminals on the run from justice”.

Can the Home Secretary guarantee that we will continue to participate in European arrest warrant co-operation?

I certainly agree with the principle that the European arrest warrant is an effective tool that is essential to the delivery of effective judgment on the murderers, rapists and paedophiles on whom we have managed to seek judgment. It is a priority for us to ensure that we remain part of the arrangement, and I can reassure Members in all parts of the House that our European partners want to achieve that as well.