The Metropolitan Police have made over 100,000 requests to access the European Criminal Records Information System in the last four years, new figures show.
Labour’s London Assembly Policing and Crime spokesperson, Unmesh Desai AM, who obtained the data, has warned about the impact to Londoners’ safety if the UK loses its right to use key security databases in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The European Criminal Records Information System allows police forces across the continent to conduct background and conviction checks on EU nationals.
In the wake of the Prime Minister’s recent speech urging the nation to prepare for a no-deal scenario, the UK is set to lose access to this database and other cross-border law enforcement tools such as the European Arrest Warrant, at the end of December.
At the most recent Mayor’s Question Time Meeting, Mr Desai asked Sadiq Khan to put into plain terms what the lack of a Brexit deal and the loss of the current level of co-operation with EU police forces would mean for Londoners’ safety.
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The Mayor responded by quoting Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Neil Basu, the most senior counter-terrorism police officer in the country, who has said, “It would create an immediate risk that people could come to this country who were serious offenders and we would not know about it.”
Mr Desai said: “Londoners’ safety will needlessly be put at risk if the Government continue to fail to negotiate a sensible deal with the EU.
“We can clearly see from these figures that the Met Police heavily rely upon shared databases with other European countries to identify potential security threats.
“Boris Johnson pretends to be tough on crime, but this is all just meaningless posturing when he is so willing to sacrifice these vital tools of cooperation with our closest neighbours.
“As we continue with our trajectory towards no deal, there is no doubt that criminals looking to flee the continent to Britain are rubbing their hands with glee.”
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