Leaving the Eu: Security, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:06 pm on 18th January 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of James Berry James Berry Conservative, Kingston and Surbiton 3:06 pm, 18th January 2017

Pending the negotiations, we should continue down the path of integration in all these policing and criminal justice measures. We have already done that in respect of Europol in a decision that was approved by the House last month.

I shall move on to another important measure: the passenger name records directive. This was explained to members of the Committee at Copenhagen airport. It is a common system for collecting and processing data held by airlines, including names, travel dates, itineraries, seat numbers, baggage and means of payment. These data are vital in tracking criminal and terrorist movements to prevent and detect crime. It is important to note that the EU has bilateral data sharing arrangements for passenger name records with the US, Australia and Canada. It is also negotiating an arrangement with Mexico, so there is no good reason why a non-EU country cannot participate in what is clearly a system that has mutual benefits.

The European arrest warrant has had a transformative effect on the ability of the police and prosecuting authorities to get those who need to face justice in the UK—whether relating to a prosecution or a prison sentence—back to the UK to do so. It bypasses the fiendishly complicated extradition rules that apply with respect to some other countries, because countries that are part of the European arrest warrant arrangements cannot refuse to extradite their own citizens, and there are legally mandated time limits during which extraditions have to take place. In 2015-16, 2,102 individuals were arrested in the UK and deported on European arrest warrants. Those were people we plainly did not want in this country. We have been able to repatriate more than 2,500 individuals from EU countries since we have been a member of the European arrest warrant system, including some well-known terrorists, serious criminals and paedophiles. There is a list of high-profile cases, but I will not go into it now. I agree with Lyn Brown that this is the most effective extradition system in the world, and it would be madness if we were in a situation in which we had to leave it.