No-deal Brexit could stifle police access to vital intelligence


Suspects wanted for murder could “remain at large” if a failure to agree a Brexit deal leaves police forces missing out on key intelligence from their EU counterparts.

With the clock ticking down towards the UK’s departure from the EU on 29 March, City Police Commissioner, Ian Dyson, warned that forces across the country could lose access to “intelligence and arrest warrants to bring an offender to justice” in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

He said: “If somebody is a European citizen and is wanted for a serious crime like murder then, at the moment, we stop that person in London.

“If there isn’t that flow of information, we may stop that person, but we may not know they are wanted.

“But even if we did know… we would not necessarily have the powers to make the arrest, and that person might remain at large.”

A no-deal Brexit could see the UK lose out on key crime-busting intelligence from the EU law enforcement network Europol, which shares intelligence with forces in member states.

The Home Office and the National Crime Agency are lobbying their concerns over the potential loss of such a resource.

Commissioner Dyson said: “We are at the forefront of feeding things in because of the potential impact it has on us for tackling economic crime.”

He said the force is also working with City businesses and the Corporation  to counteract the risks of terrorism and cybercrime.

The force is the national lead on fraud, and in November alone received more than 31,000 reports, including details of online shopping and boiler room scams.

He explained: “The intelligence that flows between European countries could be interrupted if we get no deal.

“These are key tools for us, particularly the flow of criminality around Europe.”

He added that a no-deal Brexit might also present challenges if officers received requests about European arrest warrants, as they might not have all the details.

Commissioner Dyson made his comments in a Brexit update to the City Corporation’s economic crime board of the police committee, but said it was hard to predict what might happen.

Detective Superintendent Perry Stokes, who heads City Police’s fraud operations, said contingency measures were in place if “the worst happens”, and that police would use intelligence from the international crime agency Interpol.

However, he added: “Europol works for us. It is fast and it is live.”

Commissioner Dyson explained that non-EU members, including the US, can join Europol, but “it’s about how much information will be shared”.