There are around 3,600 organised crime groups active in the EU, involved in drugs, human trafficking, online child exploitation and theft. Cross-border crime is a reality and we need 21st century tools to deal with it.
We read far too often of criminals who have escaped the UK to live in the warmer parts of southern Europe, where they live the life of Riley, whilst waving two fingers at their victims at home.
Last year, 14 British citizens were brought back to Britain under a European Arrest Warrant. This Warrant allows criminals from any EU country to be arrested abroad. Some recent high profile examples have been
-Fugitive teacher Jeremy Forrest, who fled to France with a schoolgirl, was extradited back to England
- The UK was able to quickly extradite from Italy a fugitive bomber, Hussain Osman, who had attempted to carry out a terror attack in London.
- Jason McKay was extradited from Poland within two weeks for murdering his partner. Under the old extradition arrangements, it would have taken several years to get him back to face justice for a murdered woman
I find it amazing that anyone wants to make it easier for foreign criminals to come to the UK to evade justice and also create a huge amount of extra bureaucracy and cost in trying to catch criminals who escape across Europe.
Last year, more than 1,000 foreign criminals were deported under the European Arrest Warrant. These were issued most often for drug trafficking, murder, fraud, child sex offences and rape. We need to cooperate with partners in Europe to ensure people who have committed these serious crimes do not get away with it.
Opting out of the European Arrest Warrant would make it much harder to deport foreign criminals and would also make it more difficult for us to bring British citizens who have committed crimes abroad back to our country to face justice.
I have to say that I simply don’t understand the logic of those MPs – a minority of Conservative MPs and the UKIP MP – who are implacably opposed to the European Arrest Warrant, seemingly just because they hate the EU.