Backbench Business

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:48 pm on 20th April 2017.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing and the Fire Service) 3:48 pm, 20th April 2017

I do not have those figures with me, but I will get them and write to the right hon. Gentleman before Parliament dissolves. I will ensure we get those to him and the hon. Member for West Ham over the next few days, so that they have a record.

When extraditing people from the United Kingdom, it is important to ensure that the conditions in which they will be held respect their human rights. That touches on the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth in his reference to prisons—I am sure we would all like to see them and it sounded interesting. The UK works closely with member states to ensure that, when concerns arise, appropriate assurances are given to ensure that we are able to protect individuals’ rights. On occasion it is correct to say that evidence suggests that member states would not meet the standards expected of them. If a judge is not satisfied that extradition is compatible with human rights, whether because of prison conditions or other reasons, they must, and indeed do, refuse the application for extradition. That is an important protection afforded to individuals who would otherwise be extradited from the UK to EU member states or other countries.

A swift and fair extradition system is an important element of our UK law enforcement. It protects the UK by ensuring that potentially dangerous criminals are extradited, including those who are wanted for murder, rape, trafficking or child sex offences. It likewise enables us to have alleged UK offenders swiftly returned to face justice here at home, which is why police forces and law enforcement authorities throughout the country value the European arrest warrant. Respected law enforcement professionals have publicly highlighted that it is a cost-efficient and quick system compared with the available alternatives, and that it is seen as a vital crime-fighting tool.

When we think about co-operation tools such as the European arrest warrant, it is important to keep in mind the threats we face. The perpetrators of crime and terrorism do not respect borders. The threat they pose is becoming increasingly transnational—the borders and lines we draw mean nothing to them. We know that international organised crime groups exploit vulnerabilities such as inadequate law enforcement and criminal justice structures. Furthermore, in a technologically interconnected world, threats such as cybercrime and online child sexual exploitation are international by definition. When I have been with police forces looking at this work, I have seen at first hand how quickly and easily people can move around the world online. We need the ability to deal with crime globally.

In the face of these common threats, it is difficult to see how it would be in anyone’s interest for our departure from the EU to result in a reduction in the effectiveness of security, law enforcement and criminal justice co-operation. In debates in the main Chamber over the last few months, the Home Secretary, the Prime Minister and I have been clear that we want, and believe it is right, to deliver what the British people voted for last year. We will leave the European Union, but nobody voted to be less safe. Our job as the British Government is to continue to ensure that our public, our residents and indeed our friends and partners around Europe remain safe.