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Arrest Warrants

Attorney General written question – answered on 3rd November 2014.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Attorney General

To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment he has made of the usefulness of the European Arrest Warrant as a prosecutorial tool.

Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Attorney General

To ask the Attorney General, what recent discussions he has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on the usefulness of the European Arrest Warrant as a prosecutorial tool.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Attorney-General

The Government and the DPP are in agreement that the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) offers the best way of keeping Britain safe, particularly from serious criminals and terrorists.

The introduction of the EAW has resulted in much faster processing of extradition requests, meaning that we can secure the return of fugitives wanted for serious offending in this country often in a matter of weeks, not many months or even years as was the case under previous arrangements. The Arrest Warrant is also more effective. For example, under the previous regime, the European Convention on Extradition, some Member States can refuse to surrender their own nationals, including France, Germany and Spain, which is not the position in EAW cases. Furthermore, the EAW overcomes problems of time limitation in other countries. It also means that wanted people can now be extradited to face fraud and tax charges, which was not the case before.

The Government has recently made changes in the way that the EAW is processed through our courts. These changes are designed to offer greater protection to UK citizens and other UK residents against disproportionate requests and the risk of spending unreasonable lengths of time in pre-trial detention abroad. With those changes in place, the Government is convinced that the EAW provides an effective and cost-efficient tool in the fight against trans-national crime, and it is one which prosecutors and other law enforcement professionals are keen to see preserved.

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