Brexiters have nowhere to hide on crime, policing, terror and intelligence

With the Brexit debate currently focusing on the question of trade, Brexiters are able to wrongly claim that the UK would enjoy better trade agreements outside the EU, sooner or later. This exercise in hand waving complacency is not available when it comes to our security.

This is not just about the European Arrest Warrant, responsible for the extradition of 7000 criminals out of the UK and 1000 brought to justice here including failed London bomber Hussein Osman.

There are over 100 measures in total, many of which the UK has chosen to withdraw from while remaining in the important ones. The European Investigation Order, for example makes it much easier to investigate crimes where some investigation is needed in another jurisdiction.

Perhaps the most significant is intelligence sharing, which led to arrests last week in the UK, in connection with the Paris and Brussels bombings. Terrorists clearly don’t respect borders and for us to operate in national silos would make us much weaker. Brexit would delight Da’esh.

These are all agreed measures for co-operation which we have opted into because they are in our interests to do so. Unlike the case with trade, where Single Market rules are the exclusive rules for doing business, there is nothing to stop us agreeing additional measures bilaterally with any other country in the world, inside or outside the EU. And we do. Any Brexiter who claimed we could replicate the EU measures better outside the EU would be trumped by the observation that there is nothing stopping us doing it already.

Now most Brexiters seem to be motivated by a desire to ditch any co-operation that comes with an EU label, but some will say at this point that surely the EU will let us remain within those measures we want to be in (which on the 2014 decision of the UK government is all of them that we are currently in) and they may be right in principle although Brexit will make it more difficult in practice, and they have their fellow Brexiters to fight.

But, like the Single Market rules, the co-operation measures on crime, policing, terror and intelligence are not cast in stone. They are an ongoing project of improvement – responding to new threats, fixing mistakes (if not always as quickly as we might like), closing loopholes etc.

We should not expect a renegotiation with the UK each time the rump EU amends one of its crime fighting measures. No, like the single market, if we stay in, while leaving the EU, we are in a democracy by fax where we will have chosen to have no influence.

We already have border controls, and we can keep out terrorist suspects that we – or our European friends – have identified. But Britain, along with France, Germany, Belgium the Netherlands and Sweden have far too many home-grown terrorists who will most likely, as with all terrorists, kill the people around them, but will make connections all over the world. We won’t defeat them by giving up our connections.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017, is a councillor in Sheffield and is Tuesday editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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27 Comments

  • Rightsaidfredfan 19th Apr '16 - 1:51pm

    I’m in favour of leaving the EU and ripping up the European arrest warrant. I think the European arrest warrant is an illiberal disgrace and one of the main reasons I want out of the EU. I hate to think of Turkey, a country where it is illegal to admit the Armenian genocide or insult the president getting into the EU and having the power to automatically demand our arrest.

  • Rightsaidfredfan:

    I hope this is a joke for which I have missed the point

  • RightsaidFredfan
    Those comments are so ludicrous they must be a joke. No wonder the campaign is annoying many people.

  • Someone seems to be an Aco lite.

  • Rightsaidfredfan 19th Apr '16 - 4:26pm

    I believe that Turkey recently asked Germany to file charges against a comedian for insulting their president. Not too keen on turkey in the EU… Not to keen on being in a political union with a country where you could be sent to jail for saying bad things about Kim Jong Un’s hair cut either mind you. Or would merkle only send it to the courts if you insulted the leader of a friendly nation?

  • I can’t put in to words how bored I am with both sides in the debate trying to out-scare each other and claim the mantle of objective truth. Yesterday on Radio 4 they were asking a chap from “Fact Check” whether George Osborne was telling the truth about the £4,000 (or whatver it was) he claimed every household would be worse off by in the event of leaving the EU. It was the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard, since there is no objective judgment to make on any kind of economic prediction, only speculative estimates. You might as well ask someone to “Fact Check” Mystic Meg’s forecast for this summer’s weather.

    To date I have only heard one strong fact-based argument for staying in the EU, and that came from Jeremy Corbyn funnily enough. He said we should stay in to protect workers’ rights. Given the total destruction of the left and centre-left, and remembering how the social chapter was the one thing that saved us from the worst excesses of the Tories last time, this is the only thing at present that is causing me to tend towards Remain.

  • @Rightsaidfredfa
    For clarity, I would guess that this is what you are talking about?

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-green-lights-legal-case-against-erdogan-critical-comic-a-1087445.html

  • @Joe Otten
    “For many Brexiters the point is to abandon this co-operation.”

    Really? Who has been saying this then?

  • Rightsaidfredfan 19th Apr '16 - 10:27pm

    If we weren’t in the EU already almost nobody would want to join it. Tells me all I need to know.

    Then there is the issue of what the EU would look like with turkey in it, definitely not something I want us to be a part of. You can say that turkey can’t join without our agreement but it can join without the British people’s agreement, nobody got a vote on Poland joining, our government just OK’d it and didn’t put any restrictions on the numbers who could come and those who objected were often called racist to silence them. I see no reason they could’nt just do the same again. The Irish people however did get a vote and said no to Poland joining, they were told that was the wrong answer and that they needed to vote again. These are plain facts, and I see no reason it couldn’t all happen again with turkey. Are we going to automatically extradite anyone turkey ask for to the human rights abusing hellholes that are Turkish jails then too?

  • “For many Brexiters the point is to abandon this co-operation.”
    Sorry Joe, now you are just making stuff up on the hoof. Can you show any link or any evidence to any Brexit argument, that says joint co-operation with Europe on crime, terrorism and intelligence should be abandoned.? Why on earth would anyone even say such a ludicrous thing?
    If we vote Leave, the UK, post Brexit will enthusiastically, still play it’s part [plus funding], for a whole range of mutually beneficial European projects and interests from shared intelligence, to scientific projects like CERN,… but,… we frankly, we just don’t need that extra layer of unaccountable Overlords, to maintain good relations with fellow Europeans. Please, let’s get real and have less of this ,… drawbridge raising,… back to the 50’s,…crazy talk.
    Seriously,.. I know some people are getting a bit fraught with it all, but let’s not wander off into absurdity?

  • Does anyone seriously believe the UK would stop working closely with the EU – or they with us – against crime and terrorists if we voted to leave the EU? This is exactly the type of rubbish that is driving people into the leave camp. More and more I’m hearing people support the leave campaign because they don’t believe what they see as silly statements from the stay in side. The out campaign is making a case of hope for the future and people – rightly or wrongly – are beginning to believe them. If the remain campaign doesn’t raise it’s game from just fear of the unknown they could well blow this.

  • Joe,… you have a very low threshold of evidence if you think one person saying let’s rip up the European Arrest Warrant is evidence of anything frankly.
    And as for the EAW,… has it not proved to be a deeply flawed piece of legislation on several occasions. You want real evidence ?
    1. Ask Andrew Symeou from Enfield, extradited under the EAW, and thrown in a Greek jail for 10 months for something he clearly didn’t do.
    2. Ask the parents of Ashya King, who were hounded across Europe under the EAW, because they had the audacity to take their sick child out of the NHS who didn’t have the resources to help him.
    The EAW is a disturbingly blunt tool for use in a civil society, but to draw a conclusion that criticism of EAW is akin to cutting off all co-operative and mutually beneficial ties with Europe, is a tad absurd.

  • Rightsaidfredfan 20th Apr '16 - 1:00pm

    What struck me is when the financial crisis happened the UK printed money and offered help to its Irish neighbor, Norway also offered to help Iceland. The USA wouldn’t just stand by and let one of its states go to ruin either.

    In the euro zone when the going got tough Greece and Spain were essentially hung out to dry with policies that would give them 25% unemployment and 50% youth forced on them. This is ruinous to an entire generation of Southern Europeans.

    So much for a union, when the going got tough it was every country for themselves in this euro zone. I say vote out and take the European arrest warrant with you.

  • “J Dunn, thank you for disproving your own point.”
    How so ?

  • Why don’t you address RightSaidFred’s point?

    Are you against Turkey joining the EU? Are you in favour of their having a second class membership that would prevent them from issuing EAW?

    If not then his points seem justified.

  • @ Peter Martin “But there is only the UK which is in this category.”

    Sorry, Peter, but Denmark uses the Kroner.

  • jedibeeftrix 20th Apr '16 - 5:34pm

    @ David – “Sorry, Peter, but Denmark uses the Kroner.”

    I rather think you misread what he wrote.

  • @ petermartin 2001 Thanks for your modest and diffident reply.

    Sorry to have used the plural kroner… it must have upset you….. Of course the Krone is only loosely pegged to the Euro so we’ll have to split the difference (about 2.5% give or take) on that one. ‘Shadow’ would be a more accurate term.

    It may be of some comfort to you that I share your Keynsian preferences.

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