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"Conservatives must keep British people safe ahead of their hatred of cooperating with our continental neighbours"

October 16, 2012 3:59 PM

By Bill Newton Dunn MEP

Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

David Cameron, leader of the Conservative party recently announced his plans to opt the United Kingdom out of the Justice and Home Affairs cooperation in the EU. This ludicrous idea which yesterday, was backed up by the Home Secretary Theresa May would see the UK lose European cooperation on more than 130 criminal justice measures.

Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK can decide to opt out of all existing European measures for police and justice cooperation, and may choose to then try to negotiate to rejoin specific measures.

The opt out would make it significantly harder for the UK police to catch criminals across borders, counter terrorism and keep our streets and our families safe from dangerous criminals. As we speak, the trial of Jeremy Forrester is ongoing thanks to the European Arrest Warrant, UK and French police are engaged in a joint investigation with Eurojust into the murder of the British family in Annecy in France, and an EU-wide hunt is on for a former priest wanted for multiple child sex offences in the UK, thanks to a UK-issued European Arrest Warrant.

Thousands of cases have been seen where the police have used these measures to catch criminals abroad and deport dangerous foreign criminals from the UK, including one of the failed 21/7 London bombers. The Eurojust and Europol initiatives, the latter of which helped to bust one of Europe's largest ever paedophile rings last year, leading to the arrest in the UK of 121 suspected sex offenders- both will be opted out of. This operation alone is said to have protected 60 vulnerable young children in Britain.

102 Conservative MPs want the Government to withdraw from all European policing and justice measures. But 13 former UK police chiefs, including a former MI5 Head, two former Met Police Commissioners and a former SOCA head recently wrote to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister warning that pulling out of many of the measures would put public safety at risk.

Bill Newton Dunn comments:

"The Conservatives must choose what is more important: their dislike of all things European or keeping people in the East Midlands safe?"

"Once again the Euro sceptics Tories are blinded by their dogma which this time, sacrifices the safety of the British public and the rights of victims. Liberal Democrats in government and in the European Parliament will fight to keep the tools that have helped arrest human traffickers, drug barons and paedophile gangs before they reach our borders.

"Some measures are old. Some are important but need further reform, like the European Arrest Warrant. But the police say that many are essential for our national security, public safety and leadership in fighting crime and terrorism.

"We must put policing before politics, so the question for the Tory party is this: will they put Euroscepticism above the safety and security of the British public?"

National & Local Successes/ Cases:

  • Operation Golf, a joint investigation between the Met, Europol and Romania, which broke up a pan-EU organised child trafficking network. 121 individuals across Europe were arrested and 181 children were freed.

  • Operation Rescue, where the Met teamed up with Europol to coordinate a 30-country investigation, cracking open the world's largest online paedophile network. Over 184 arrests were made, and 230 sexually exploited children were released, including 60 in the UK.

  • The EU-wide search for Hussein Osman, one of the failed 21/7 London bombers, who was tracked down and arrested in Italy and brought back to the UK using the Arrest Warrant to face trial within a matter of days.

  • Jeremy Forrester, the teacher wanted for child abduction, was arrested in France under a European Arrest Warrant and brought back to the UK with days.

  • The murder of the British family in Annecy in France is being investigated through a 'joint investigation' between British police, French police and Eurojust.

  • An EU wide hunt is on for a former priest wanted for multiple child sex offences thanks to a UK-issued European Arrest Warrant.

  • In 2011 Lincolnshire Police Teamed up with CEOP, SOCA and Europol to lead a Global Operation to bust open a global paedophile ring that has led to 132 UK children protected and safeguarded, 211 UK suspects identified and 38 UK convictions to date. See here and here.

  • In 2006 a joint operation run by SOCA, Crimestoppers, Spanish Authorities and Europol, to track down the most wanted Brits on the run in Spain ('Costa Del Crime') and return them under EAWs to the UK (see here). Daniel Johnston was wanted for carrying two robberies, one attempted robbery and one theft in licensed stores in Derbyshire, usually armed with a knife. He was arrested in Spain in December 2008, see here.

  • In July 2009 a violent criminal was deported to his native Poland. Marcin Krol fled Poland before he was to serve sentences for robbery, causing death by dangerous driving and various drugs offences. The 31-year-old, whose crimes were committed in 2000 and 2003, travelled to the UK and was jailed for a serious assault in Leicestershire in 2007. Leicestershire police served a European arrest warrant on Krol- before he was to be released from prison. He was escorted to an airport where he was put on a Polish military flight to his home country, where he will serve the sentences for the crimes he committed there. See here.