Mayor calls for separate security agreement with the European Union
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will today call for a separate security agreement with the European Union, away from the politics of Britain’s main deal, to protect the safety of Londoners after Brexit and to mitigate against the risk of a no deal.
Such a move would also lessen the potential risks from Britain crashing out of the EU with no deal, Sadiq will argue.
Currently both London and Europe rely heavily on information-sharing with other security services to thwart the increased terror threat. There are 32 measures used on a daily basis by the police, including access to Europol, the European Arrest Warrant and EU Passenger Name Records, that have played a huge part in helping our hard-working police and security services disrupt serious organised crime, tackle the trafficking of deadly weapons, and stop criminals passing through borders.
As Mayor of our capital city, Sadiq is concerned that if Britain leaves the EU without a deal and loses access to security measures, working with European partners will be slower and less efficient, leading to London being less secure.
That is why, given the current state of negotiations between the government and the EU, Ministers should act in the interests of our national security by reaching a separate security arrangement with Europe that can be swiftly agreed, away from the politics of the wider deal.
Londoners’ security is Sadiq’s first priority and, at a time of rising violent crime and the threat following four terrorist attacks in the capital last year, as well as the rise in the threat of far-right extremism, he today sets out six red lines which are crucial for continued cooperation on security and counter-terrorism with European partners and should form part of a separate security deal.
- The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) which enables vital intelligence sharing to help combat serious crimes including terrorism, money laundering and human trafficking.
- The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) which allows Member States to extradite people to stand trial or serve a sentence. Losing it would make it harder to bring suspects back to the UK to face justice.
- The Schengen Information System II (SIS II) which means countries can share information on people and property through real-time alerts. It was consulted 3.9 billion times in 2016 by Member States and Associated Countries.
- EU Passenger Name Records which allow the UK Border Force to check passenger details against watch-lists, making it harder for organised criminals and terrorists to hide their movements.
- The European Criminal Records Information System which gives the UK access to criminal records throughout the EU, critical in understanding the risk certain individuals represent.
- The Prüm arrangements which allow authorities to instantly access DNA profiles, fingerprint data and vehicle registrations.
Britain’s access to EU security measures led to the arrest and extradition of Jamie Acourt in May, on connection with the large-scale supply of drugs.
The European Arrest Warrant was used to arrest and extradite the 2005 failed Shepherd’s Bush bomber Hussain Osman, and is being used to pursue the two GRU officers believed to be responsible for the Novichok attack in Salisbury. The Mayor is clear that without access to these crucial measures, our police and security services will be severely restricted in the battle to keep us safe.
It’s a warning national policing leads have been sounding, with fears raised about future access to key tools shared with other European countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit. National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Sara Thornton, has previously warned the “alternatives we are planning to use, where they exist, are without exception slower, more bureaucratic and ultimately less effective.” Meanwhile, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Richard Martin, the NPCC’s lead for Brexit, has also said without access to EU data sharing and co-operation our collective ability to map terrorist and criminal networks across Europe and bring those responsible to justice, would be reduced.
Sadiq’s intervention comes on the day he joins Mayor Anne Hidalgo in Paris at a memorial event on the anniversary of the Bataclan terrorist attack in 2015. The visit forms part of a two-day trip to Berlin and Paris as he bids to protect the capital’s economy from the effects of Brexit and reiterates his message that ‘London Is Open’. The Mayor will express his solidarity with Paris on the third anniversary of the attacks, showing that London stands together and works together with other European cities in the face of the continuing terrorism threat.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “One of the many benefits of working with the EU has been in policing and security with cross-border cooperation improving the safety of Londoners. That’s why I am deeply concerned about the impact that crashing out of the European Union without a deal will have on the safety and security of our city. National policing experts have already warned that losing access to the European Arrest Warrant and Europol, to name just two examples, will make it harder to keep tabs on terrorist and serious organised criminal networks.
“It will fundamentally mean asking our police and security services to tackle the terrorist threat with their arms tied behind their backs.
“It’s time the government recognised just how important this is and that’s why I am today calling for a standalone separate deal that can be done with EU leaders on security. It cannot continue to be caught up in the issues holding back our hopes of negotiating any form of sensible deal with the EU – it’s far too important for Ministers to play politics with when our safety is on the line.
Notes to editors
- Last year, the UK sent and received more than 162,000 requests and notifications for criminal records through the European Criminal Records Information System. With no deal officers wouldn’t have access to this or might have to request information country by country.
- Prior to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) legislation the UK extradited 60 people per year on average. Since 2004, the UK has extradited more than 10,000 people into Europe.