Sunday Express

Brexit stops EU criminals

- By Jon Austin CRIME EDITOR

BREXIT has helped cut the number of criminals from eastern Europe moving to Britain, latest figures show.

The number of extraditio­n cases this year, many involving suspected EU fugitives, is half that of 2015 – a year before the EU referendum.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that from 2009 to 2015 there was a rise in the number of European Arrest Warrants at Westminste­r magistrate­s court, which handles all cases in England andwales.

On average, around 80 per cent of extraditio­n cases heard in the UK concern EU nationals. The majority involve suspected fugitives from eastern Europe. In 2009, there were 1,082 European Arrest Warrants carried out here. By 2012 this figure had risen to 1,716.

After Romanian nationals were given free movement rights in 2014, it rose to 2,382 in 2015.

Figures released this week showed that net migration to the EU peaked in 2015 at 219,000 people. But for the year up to June this year, it fell to 48,000 – the lowest since 2003.

It appears that the number of EU fugitives or criminals staying in the UK, or deciding to come here, also dropped following the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

By 2016 the number of extraditio­n cases heard atwestmins­ter dropped to 2,133. The latest figures for this year, up to mid-november, show there were just 1,172 cases heard.

David Spencer, research director of think tank Centre for Crime Prevention, said: “It is clear to see that the prospect of leaving the EU is already putting criminals off moving to the UK from the EU.”

There has been a similar pattern with the amount of legal aid paid out to foreign criminals to fight extraditio­n from the UK.

Figures released by the Legal Aid Agency show that in 2009-10 £852,308 was paid out to people fighting extraditio­n from the UK in cases at Westminste­r. By 2016-17 this had soared to £2,724,594. But by 2018-19 it had fallen to £981,529.

Among those who appeared in Westminste­r Magistrate­s Court for extraditio­n on Friday was Pole Jaroslaw Raczynski, 37, who is wanted over supplying drugs, fraud and criminal damage. The case was adjourned.

 ?? ?? WANTED: Raczynski
WANTED: Raczynski

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