Brexit: UK Intelligence to Lose Out – UK Security at Risk
The UK authorities will lose access to almost all European Union law enforcement cooperation tools after December 31, which may affect public security in the country.
The government said the UK would continue to be a “global leader on security” however there is increasing concern that the UK Police will be unable to cope if existing data-sharing agreements with the EU will be cut.
Upon the request of MP Yvette Cooper, the Chair of the British National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt and National Crime Agency Director-General Operations Steve Rodhouse, have listed all databases and systems that the UK will lose access to once the transition period ends without a deal and the impact to UK’s security.
Serious and troubling letters from Police Chiefs’ and NCA to Commons Home Affairs on preparations for January 1,outlining the security downgrade if no negotiated agreement, including impact on public protection, serious crime and counter-terror, Tweeted by MP Cooper
Loss of Access to Schengen Information System II (SIS II)
Martin Hewitt stated that the loss of access to the Schengen Information System II (SIS II) “will have a major operational impact.”
“The fall back for loss of SIS II is Interpol,” he said, adding that since Interpol is not linked to national systems it will be slower and lack the capability of SIS II, and thus due to the differences between SIS II and Interpol, the latter will circulate far fewer persons and objects.
The SIS II is Schengen Area’s database on which the Member States share information on criminal suspects and lost objects in order to help police across the continent.
The UK authorities have attempted to retain its access to SIS II even as a non-EU member which has been harshly opposed by EU officials, members of the European Parliament, and EU governments’ officials.
According to the National Crime Agency, the UK Law Enforcement (UKLE) has made extensive use of SIS II, which on December 31, 2019, contained 4.6 million UK alerts relating to people and objects, including over 37,000 person alerts circulated by the UK.
Losing Access to ECRIS, Prüm & PNR
Hewitt pointed out that the UK Police will also lose access to the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), which will significantly slow the ability of the police to check records of individuals from overseas databases.
ACPO Criminal Records Office (ACRO) estimate this loss would mean that securing overseas conviction data would move from an average of 6 days to 66 days.
Hewitt also highlights that losing access to the automated system will impact on ACRO and change the way in which data can be exchanged with European Union Military Staff (EUMS).
As per Prüm, a DNA Exchange Programme that allows the UK to share DNA data immediately and search EU partner databases, Hewitt notes that once the UK can no longer access it, it will have a major operational impact too.
Troubling Impacts of No Deal Brexit
The growing standoff in Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels has raised the prospect that no agreement will be reached on security and law enforcement cooperation because it is bound up with the overall deal.
The EU could lose too
It is worth remembering that this is a two-way street, and the EU also stands to lose invaluable security co-operation with the UK.
What are your thoughts about no-deal Brexit? Comment below.
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