VERA BAIRD

Straight talk­ing with the PCC

The Chronicle - - Vera -

AS the dark nights start to draw in, I think the Prime Min­is­ter will be hav­ing many dark days won­der­ing how to con­trol her rebels over Brexit.

The Gov­ern­ment is mak­ing a mon­u­men­tal hash-up of this process. It is stum­bling from cri­sis to cri­sis and, as it does it is, fail­ing to see the big­ger pic­ture and the dam­age be­ing done to com­mu­ni­ties across our re­gion.

In re­la­tion to polic­ing, the Home Sec­re­tary needs to get a grip.

He needs to en­sure the var­i­ous vi­tal co­op­er­a­tion tools and mech­a­nisms which en­able the UK and the EU po­lice forces to work to­gether to pre­vent and tackle crime and threats to re­gional and na­tional se­cu­rity are in place.

He also needs to ad­dress the po­ten­tial im­pact on the fu­ture in­com­pat­i­bil­ity be­tween EU and UK laws and the rights the UK could lose by fall­ing out of the EU’s ju­ris­dic­tion and le­gal frame­work.

We need con­tin­ued use of shared law en­force­ment data­bases and Euro­pean Ar­rest War­rants, which have as­sisted Northum­bria Po­lice on many oc­ca­sions. Na­tion­ally, last year, 1,735 ar­rests were made in the UK and more than 10,000 peo­ple have been ex­tra­dited since 2004.

In 2017, the Schen­gen In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem – which is a Euro­pean data­base used by the po­lice to search for ter­ror­ist sus­pects, miss­ing peo­ple and to check ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tions and passport de­tails – was checked nearly 540 mil­lion times by po­lice of­fi­cers in the UK.

It’s im­per­a­tive that the Home Sec­re­tary and his de­part­ment en­sure that th­ese services are still avail­able to Northum­bria Po­lice af­ter March 2019. Northum­bria Po­lice plays a vi­tal role in na­tional se­cu­rity and the safety of the pub­lic in our re­gion.

We can’t al­low the good work po­lice of­fi­cers and staff do to be put in jeop­ardy if the Gov­ern­ment doesn’t get its act to­gether to en­sure de­tailed ar­range­ments are in place.

We work with part­ners to tackle crime such as hu­man traf­fick­ing and se­ri­ous or­gan­ised crime and po­lice of­fi­cers need the tools to get the job done, not Boris John­son and his cronies fight­ing for the next me­dia head­line.

Theresa May now needs to move away from ac­cept­ing a pos­si­ble “no-deal” out­come on Brexit, as this will cause chaos and con­fu­sion for polic­ing and se­cu­rity services.

She has a duty to de­liver the best deal pos­si­ble that will en­sure the con­tin­ued safety of res­i­dents. We are fast ap­proach­ing the dead­line and forces need con­sid­er­able ad­di­tional re­sources at local and na­tional level for polic­ing to op­er­ate us­ing non-EU services and, in all re­al­ity, what­ever is put in place to deal with a no-deal out­come will be an in­fe­rior stan­dard to what is al­ready in place.

It is hoped that the Gov­ern­ment and EU will have agreed terms for leav­ing by Oc­to­ber – that’s very op­ti­mistic as there is a great deal more work to be done.

I agree fully with Richard Martin, deputy as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice and the NPCC lead on Brexit, when he said: “It is in the in­ter­ests of both sides to ne­go­ti­ate an ar­range­ment that al­lows for con­tin­ued close work­ing, whether as part of ex­ist­ing mech­a­nisms or ne­go­ti­ated al­ter­na­tives.

“With­out such ar­range­ments, both UK po­lice and EU mem­ber states will lose ca­pa­bil­i­ties in­clud­ing iden­ti­fy­ing crim­i­nals and miss­ing per­sons who cross our bor­ders, de­tain­ing and swiftly sur­ren­der­ing sus­pects un­der EAWs, quickly iden­ti­fy­ing pre­vi­ous his­tory of of­fend­ing or the shar­ing bio­met­ric data.”

There is a job to be done and Theresa May needs to get on with it.

I stand with other Labour Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sion­ers across Eng­land and Wales de­mand­ing it is done with the in­ter­ests of safety and de­liv­er­ing ef­fec­tive polic­ing run­ning through the heart of any deal.

The Prime Min­is­ter, Theresa May

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