by Matt Gallagher on October 15, 2012
Last week I posted about my concerns over plans by the Tories to scrap our extradition arrangements with Europe and try and re-negotiate new, separate arrangements.
Today, the Home Secretary has made it clear in a statement that this is her intention, although the detail remains vague. From listening to the statement and comments afterwards it is clear that;
This is about Eurosceptic Tories wanting to make it harder for the UK police to catch criminals, counter-terrorism and keep our streets and our families safe from dangerous criminals.
· The Government will review all these measures in detail. A final decision on the mass opt out will not be taken until there is agreement on which measures the UK wishes to rejoin.
· Some of the measures are old or out-of-date. But as the police and security services are already saying loudly and clearly, many are essential for the UK’s national security, public safety and Britain’s international leadership in this field.
· There are thousands of cases where the police have used these measures to catch criminals abroad and deport dangerous foreign criminals from the UK, including one of the failed 21/7 London bombers.
· Only this year, the Home Secretary and Prime Minister’s local police force, Thames Valley Police, secured the arrest of a man wanted for 15 child sex offences as result of a joint investigation between Thames Valley Police and Danish police.
· As we speak, the trial of Jeremy Forrester is ongoing thanks to a UK-issued European Arrest Warrant, UK and French police are engaged in a joint investigation with Eurojust into the murder of the British family in Annecy in France, and an EU-wide hunt is on for a former priest wanted for multiple child sex offences in the UK, thanks to a UK-issued European Arrest Warrant.
· 13 senior former UK police chiefs, including a former MI5 Head, two former Met Police Commissioners and a former SOCA Head, have written to the PM/ DPM to raise their concerns.
· And all three law societies and the Bar Council have issued statements warning that pulling out of key measures will damage the UK’s ability to combat serious and organised crime.
· Lib Dems fully back further reform of the Arrest Warrant. But the police say scrapping it altogether would severely damage UK public safety. We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
· Crimestoppers (Lord Ashcroft founded and Chairs Board of Trustees) have used the EAW to arrest over 50 of the top UK criminal fugitives hiding elsewhere in Europe.
· 77% of the British public support cooperation with the EU in counter-terrorism and fighting crime.
· The question for the Tory party is this: will they put Euroscepticism above the safety and security of the British public?