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25th Jun, 2022

FORCE FOCUS: No-deal carries threat to vital police work

We’re increasingly hearing car manufacturers tell us about the damage being inflicted upon them from the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

Many have warned of the perils of a ‘no deal’.

Last week Ford described leaving the EU without an arrangement in place to facilitate free trade as potentially ‘catastrophic’. Nissan will build fewer cars in Sunderland, in part, thanks to Brexit and JLR is to extend its annual April shutdown in car production because of uncertainties around our exit from the EU.

Whilst motor manufacturers are grabbing the headlines, many other organisations are justifiably concerned about the UK leaving the EU. West Midlands Police is one of them.

At the moment we are able to quickly and fully investigate criminals, whether in this country or abroad, thanks to EU agreements that exist between its 28 members. Those agreements allow West Midlands Police officers to share data with their counterparts in other countries, track and monitor people with serious convictions, like sex offenders, when they travel abroad and deport suspects with relative ease.

West Midlands Police, under the current system, stands a much better chance of tracking down British criminals who have gone into hiding on the continent. Once found those criminals can be returned to the UK to face trial and justice can be served. The policing agreements in place mean people who choose to break the law and harm others find it much more difficult to get away even if they do manage to flee our country.

But our force also investigates thousands of EU nationals for suspected crimes committed in our region every year. Our membership with the EU allows those criminals to be investigated quickly, background checks carried out and deported.

Brexit, without a deal, puts all that at risk. And the government has just 36 days left to secure an arrangement with our European neighbours which allows police to continue keeping us all safe.

There is no room for error.

In one month’s time, unless proper arrangements are put in place, the policing systems that cross borders and help keep you and I secure will be torn up.

I am astonished and deeply concerned there is still so much uncertainty. I call upon MPs to factor this into discussions.

I know West Midlands Police is working very hard to mitigate against all possible eventualities, but in the end the first priority of any government is to ensure the safety of its citizens. At the moment, I fear that safety is very much in doubt.

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