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Conservatives must choose between Europhobes and keeping people safe

October 16, 2012 1:41 PM
European Arrest Warrant

European Arrest Warrant

Liberal Democrat Police and Crime Commissioner candidate David Goodall has challenged Conservative candidate Michael Mates to back measures that help local police catch criminals who flee overseas, tackle cross-border crime and kick out foreign criminals convicted in the UK. These measures have been hugely successful in recent years in breaking up paedophile rings, preventing terrorism and bringing criminals who flee across borders to swift justice.

David Goodall is also calling on all candidates to join him in writing to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister calling on them to keep local people safe by ensuring local police can still benefit from fast and effective international police co-operation.

In February 2012, 102 Conservative MPs have called on the Government to withdraw from all European cross-border policing and justice measures, including Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth; Steve Brine, MP for Winchester; Julian Lewis, MP for New Forrest East; Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport; George Hollingbery, MP for Meon Valley.

Contrastingly in August 2012, 13 former UK police chiefs recently wrote to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister warning that pulling out of these key measures would put public safety at risk.

Commenting, David Goodall said:

"Michael Mates must choose: are you on the side of the Europhobes in your party or keeping people in Hampshire and Isle of Wight safe?"

"These international policing measures are an essential tool for the Police in Hampshire and Isle of Wight to break up paedophile rings, stop criminals fleeing to the Costa del Crime and deporting dangerous foreign criminals from our streets. It is outrageous that some Conservatives think we can abandon them."

"Some Conservatives are so determined to pull out of anything that has the word European attached to it that they are prepared to seriously weaken our ability to keep our citizens safe and bring criminals to justice."

"We need to put policing before politics. Crime crosses borders, justice should too."


Notes

Background:

Under the Lisbon Treaty, the British Government must decide by 1st July 2014 at the very latest whether the UK will remain part of all existing pre-Lisbon EU legislation in the field of police and judicial cooperation after 2015. The Government has promised a vote in both Houses of Parliament on the matter. In February 2012, a letter (see attached) signed by 102 Conservative backbench MPs called on the Government to opt out en masse of all 133 pieces of EU police and judicial cooperation law. This includes the five local MPs. In August 2012, 13 senior former UK police chiefs wrote to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister warning them against pulling out of these measures (see letter attached).

The threat from serious and organised international crime and terrorism is growing. Today, these cross-border crime and security threats are recognised as one of the top threats facing the UK by the Government in the 2010 National Security Strategy and in the Government's 2011 Organised Crime Strategy. The Home Office estimates that organised crime costs the UK up to £40bn a year (£1,700 per household), involves 8,000 criminal gangs and nearly 40,000 gangsters. And advances in travel, the internet and freedom of movement mean that the opportunities for serious criminals, whether rapists, murderers or child sex offenders, to escape British justice by fleeing and hiding abroad are huge.

Over the last 15 years, international police, counter-terrorism and justice co-operation across has evolved into a highly effective and mainstreamed tool kit that enable our law enforcement authorities to crack down on serious and organised crime and terrorism. Today, British law enforcement authorities use and rely on these tools on a daily basis to keep the public safe. The European Arrest Warrant has been used to extradite over 4,000 dangerous foreign criminals from our streets to face justice abroad, and bring back over 700 of the UK's most wanted serious crimes back to face British justice here. They share information, intelligence and best practice with their European counterparts on a daily basis through a highly developed set of EU cross-border police and judicial networks, databases and via EU agencies such as Europol and Eurojust. And they use EU measures to work increasingly closely with other national forces and European agencies whether it is on joint operations, criminal intelligence analysis or complex cross-border prosecutions.

YouGov polling released in July 2012 shows that 77% of the British public fully support European cooperation on counter-terrorism, policing and border security. A tiny 9% of the public think the UK shouldn't cooperate with Europe on these threats at all. See page 29 here: YouGov Survey

Today, there are literally hundreds of UK success stories using this European legislation both to combat organised criminal activity involving online paedophilia, human trafficking, drug smuggling, cybercrime, fraud, counterfeiting and terrorism, and to extradite foreign criminals to face justice for crime committed abroad, and repatriate to the UK those suspected of committing serious crimes here, covering rape, murder, child sex offenders, violent offences, white collar crime and benefit fraud. Britain is significantly safer and more secure from crime and terrorism today as a result of these measures.

National & Local Success stories:

  • Operation Golf, a joint investigation between the Met, Europol and Romania, which broke up a pan-EU organised child trafficking network. 121 individuals across Europe were arrested and 181 children were freed.
  • Operation Rescue, where the Met teamed up with Europol to coordinate a 30-country investigation, cracking open the world's largest online paedophile network. Over 184 arrests were made, and 230 sexually exploited children were released, including 60 in the UK.
  • The EU-wide search for Hussein Osman, one of the failed 21/7 London bombers, who was tracked down and arrested in Italy and brought back to the UK using the Arrest Warrant to face trial within a matter of days. It is little wonder that 77% of Londoners and the British public at large support close cooperation with Europe on counter-terrorism, policing and border security.
  • November 2010 - Child Sex Offender: A SEX offender who was named in Britain's top ten most wanted criminals after going on the run, has finally been brought to justice and jailed for ten years. Mark Brito, 45, fled abroad as soon as he heard police were investigating complaints from two girls, saying he had repeatedly abused them. He absconded when he knew he was coming under suspicion after one victim had plucked up the courage to tell her teacher, rushing upstairs at his Southampton home to pack a bag, saying he was going to be away for a few days. Detectives believe Brito went to Portugal and later moved to France where he got a girlfriend, a nurse. The fugitive was finally arrested in April, after 11 years on the run, when he committed a driving offence and was pulled over by police. He was taken to a police station for questioning where it was discovered he was wanted on a European arrest warrant prepared by Hampshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service. Following extradition, Brito stood trial at Southampton Crown Court where he was unanimously convicted of six specimen counts of indecent assault and five specimen charges of indecency with a child. Jailing him for ten years Judge Derwin Hope told Brito his victims' childhood had been ruined and they had suffered in silence.
  • See Daily Echo report: Pervert jailed after 11 years on the run.
  • December 2009 - Fatal Hit & Run:A Polish man extradited to Britain has pleaded guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of a promising diver from Bradford, the Crown Prosecution Service said. Lukasz Banasik, 22, was flown from Poland to face the charge relating to the death of Gavin Brown. The 22-year-old, a promising international-standard diver, died after being struck by a Vauxhall Astra driven by Banasik as he walked near the Hobbit Pub in Bevois Valley Road, Southampton, on April 27, 2007. James Kellam, Crown Advocate for the CPS, said: "Mr Banasik should never have been behind the wheel that night. He didn't hold a driving licence or have insurance. We worked extremely hard alongside Hampshire Police to bring Mr Banasik back to the UK. The execution of a European Arrest Warrant meant he finally had to face justice. Only now has he owned up to killing Gavin."
  • See Bradford Telegraph and Argus report: Man fled to Poland after accident in £100 car which killed an international diver.