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My Lords, Ministers are in continued dialogue with a range of operational partners on policing and security co-operation. The Government are preparing for all eventualities, and this includes continuing to work closely with our operational partners on EU exit planning.
My Lords, while the economic consequences of a no-deal Brexit are dominating the headlines, is it not the case that the consequences of no deal on vital security co-operation with the European Union are equally alarming? Did the Minister see the item in the Belfast Telegraph yesterday about the retiring chief constable there who felt that he was in the dark over Brexit? Surely, he and other police chiefs around the UK need to be fully involved in preparing the vital future security relationship with the European Union?
I totally agree with the noble Baroness and, to that end, we had a useful debate on that subject last week. For her information, at his Home Affairs Select Committee appearance, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin, who is the Brexit lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, confirmed regarding policing:
“If we crash out on
My Lords, will the Minister be so kind as to say what the extradition arrangements will be for each of the 27 member states on
I will try to make sure it gets to the noble Lord by
My Lords, the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, Cressida Dick, has said that the way in which we currently quickly extradite and arrest people will have to be replaced, but it will be more costly and slower and will potentially put the public at risk. Does the Minister agree? Will the Government admit that the UK will be less secure outside the European Union, deal or no deal?
I do not necessarily agree with the second statement, but one thing I can say to the noble Lord is that the way to avoid no deal is for the House of Commons, which is currently deliberating on it, to agree to a deal.
Can the Minister tell the House of any Brexit dividend on leaving the EU in relation to security matters?
Yes, it is a good question, and it is going to get an answer, if I can get a word in edgeways.
We have to work very hard to make sure that there are no gaps in capability and that, if we leave the European Union without a deal, we make sure that some of the alternative mechanisms and instruments are in place.
Under a deal situation, the political declaration has provisions for Eurojust, Europol, Prüm and PNR. Leaving without a deal would necessitate us relying on other mechanisms to fulfil those obligations.
It is certainly the case that the European arrest warrant is a very smooth process. I cannot give the noble Lord an estimate of the exact time relying on the Council of Europe convention because it has not happened yet. I can give estimates of what happened when we relied on the convention, but I cannot give an estimate on what has not happened yet. There is no doubt—I think this goes to the nub of the noble Lord’s point—that the European arrest warrant is a very smooth process.
Can my noble friend assure the House that, although it would be very much a second best, bilateral negotiations are already taking place with all the countries of the European Union, particularly the larger countries—France, Germany, Italy and Spain—to ensure that we have bilateral agreements if we have the very unhappy result of no deal.
My noble friend is absolutely right. With particular reference to Europol, this is pertinent, as we would have to have a series of bilateral co-operation mechanisms. In addition, we would be moving our Europol liaison bureau to The Hague.
My Lords, the case in Georgia is likely to be an example of how long extradition takes when a country is not in the European arrest warrant. On access to databases such as the SIS and Europol, the Government are going to have to seek a data advocacy decision. Is not their unreliability on upholding European human rights standards going to prove an obstacle to getting that decision?
My Lords, it is important to point out that Ireland is not part of SIS II. Of course, we used alternative channels such as Interpol up to 2015, so it is clear that alternative systems do work. Our nearest neighbour, Ireland, is not actually part of SIS II.