Metropolitan Police chief warns no-deal Brexit could put public safety ‘at risk’
Leaving the European Union without an agreement could put public safety “at risk” according to the most senior police chief in the UK.
Cressida Dick said a no-deal Brexit may mean officers lose access to vital intelligence databases and throw up barriers to arresting and extraditing criminals.
Theresa May hopes to strike a future deal with the EU that would keep Britain tied to existing security mechanisms like the European Arrest Warrant.
But Ms Dick made clear, in an appearance on the Today programme on Radio 4, that quitting with no deal would see the UK locked out of the schemes.
“We will have to replace some of the things we currently use in terms of access to databases, the way in which we can quickly extradite and arrest people,” she said.
“We will have to replace them as effectively as we can. That will be more costly undoubtedly, slower undoubtedly and potentially put the public at risk. No doubt about that.
“But I understand this is just one of many things that politicians who are deciding what to do are thinking about.”
Asked if bilateral arrangements could be drawn up before Brexit, she said: “We can talk about how that might happen but whilst so much is unknown nothing can be put in place and it would be improper to do so.”
The intervention comes ahead of the so-called “meaningful vote” on Theresa May’s Brexit deal in the House of Commons next month.
The Prime Minister has vowed to work closely with European countries on security after the UK leaves the bloc, but MPs look set to reject her agreement as it stands.
Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP and campaigner for the pro-EU group Best for Britain, said: “It doesn’t matter whether you voted to leave or to remain, you certainly did not vote to be less safe. Yet now we know Brexit will do just that.
“The UK’s top police officer is only echoing what we’ve heard from police forces across the country: that Brexit threatens the ability of police to catch criminals. No one can argue that would make us better off than if we stay in the EU."
Elsewhere Ms Dick said the Gatwick drone incident, which last week saw flights brought to a standstill at the Sussex airport, would be recognised by ministers as a sign they need to “up their game” in tackling the devices.