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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: