Negotiating Brexit: policing and criminal justice

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Series Details September 2018
Publication Date September 2018
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The Institute for Government published a report called Negotiating Brexit: policing and criminal justice in September 2018. The authors argued that failure to secure a new agreement on policing and criminal justice after Brexit would make it harder to extradite dangerous criminals from the UK and reduce the number of people brought back to the UK to face justice.

Without a new agreement, the UK would fall back on the patchwork of insufficient security arrangements that predated EU cooperation. Currently, the UK used the European Arrest Warrant to extradite more than 1000 people a year – under the previous, politicised system of extradition the figure was less than 60.

It would also be harder to bring people who were suspected of committing crimes back to the UK to face trial. UK authorities would lose access to huge EU-wide databases and prosecutors would face difficulty collaborating with EU partners without initiatives like Europol.

The report explained how the UK had the most bespoke deal on policing cooperation of any EU country, but it would not be able to maintain this once it had left. The EU had not accepted the UK’s proposal of an overarching security agreement and was offering only slightly better arrangements than those it had with other 'third countries' including Canada and Norway. The report argued that this did not recognise the UK’s contribution to EU-wide policing, or the UK already trying to allay concerns around human rights.

While trade dominated the negotiations, maintaining law enforcement cooperation was of huge mutual benefit. The report offered two main recommendations for the way both sides could break the impasse:

+ The EU should acknowledge that the UK was a special partner in this area and accept the UK’s proposal of a comprehensive security agreement.

+ The UK Government should recognise that it cannot maintain all its current special arrangements and provide reassurance that after Brexit it would take the protection of personal data seriously. These would be evidence of a willingness to compromise and show the other EU countries that the UK was a valuable partner.

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Related Links
ESO: Find more information in ESO on Brexit and the proposed Security Partnership
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
United Kingdom: House of Lords: Select Committee on the European Union: 18th Report (2017-19)HL164 (July 2018): Brexit: the proposed UK-EU security treaty
United Kingdom: House of Commons: Exiting the European Union Committee: 7th Report (2017-19) HC1317 (July 2018): The progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal. Data
United Kingdom: House of Commons: Home Affairs Committee: 4th Report (2017-19) HC635: UK-EU security cooperation after Brexit
European Council on Foreign Relations: Policy Brief, March 2018: Keeping Europe safe after Brexit. Findings of a reflection group led by Marta Dassù, Wolfgang Ischinger, Pierre Vimont, and Robert Cooper
EU Law Analysis: Blog, 19.09.18: Brexit legal changes yet: the CJEU rules on the execution of European Arrest Warrants issued by the UK prior to Brexit Day

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