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UK-EU security co-operation: How prepared are law enforcement and the Home Office for a ‘no-deal' Brexit?

On Wednesday 27th February the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee will hold an evidence session to examine how the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police, and the National Crime Agency are preparing for the sudden loss of EU security tools and databases in a ‘no deal' scenario.

With the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement yet to be ratified, there is now growing concern about the prospect of the UK facing an operational “cliff edge” in terms of security measures on 29 March 2019.

The Government has stated its intention to move security cooperation to alternative, non-EU mechanisms including Interpol, Council of Europe conventions, and bilateral channels in the event of ‘no deal'. The Committee will have the opportunity to ask the witnesses: for more detail on these alternative options for security cooperation; what is their assessment of the capability gap for security cooperation that could  result from a no-deal Brexit; and the capacity of UK police and security agencies to cope with the impact of a ‘no deal' Brexit.

The session will begin at 11:30am in Committee Room 4A of the House of Lords. The Committee will hear evidence from:

  • Richard Martin, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police
  • Steve Rodhouse, Director General Operations, National Crime Agency
  • Rebecca Ellis, Director Europe, Home Office
  • Penny Freston, Senior Director of EU Exit, Border Force

Questions the Committee are likely to ask include:

  • Which non-EU cooperation mechanisms would be the most challenging to adapt to, or represent the greatest operational gap, compared to current arrangements?
  • Are there any forms of cooperation currently facilitated through EU mechanisms for which there are no fall-back options?
  • How much has already invested in preparing for this outcome, and what are the projected future costs of having to mitigate the loss of access to EU security tools and information systems?
  • The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Director General of the National Crime Agency have warned that the impact of a ‘no deal' Brexit on security cooperation could put the public at risk and make the UK less safe. What assessment has been made of the extent of this risk to public safety?

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