Sharing of crime-fighting data ‘slower and clunky’ under Brexit deal, former national security adviser warns

Even limited agreement reached will be ripped up if UK pulls out of the European Convention on Human Rights 

Boris Johnson announces historic Brexit trade deal with EU

The sharing of vital crime-fighting data will be “slower and more clunky” under Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, a former national security adviser has warned.

And even the limited agreement reached with the EU will be ripped up if the UK ever pulls out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the full document reveals.

Peter Ricketts, the security chief under David Cameron, said the deal was “better than I had feared”, allowing the exchange of fingerprints, DNA and vehicle registration data to continue.

But he warned that “cooperation will be still be slower/more clunky than now” and raised the alarm over the loss of real-time access to the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).

Similarly, the UK will be shut out of the SIS II database, which raises alerts over suspected terrorists and organised criminals, and will have to rely on slower information-sharing after requests.

The UK will also lose the ability to initiate joint investigations through Europol and Eurojust, regressing to “a more arms-length role in these two bodies where UK has been a leader”, Lord Ricketts said.

And, with the loss of the European Arrest Warrant, EU states will no longer have to extradite their nationals to the UK, although they will be obliged to investigate suspects domestically.

Lord Ricketts, who chairs the Lords committee that has been investigating loss of law enforcement and security capability, said: “It all depends on the commission making a positive data adequacy ruling within 4-month window.

“And all this cooperation can be suspended if UK fails to respect fundamental rights as set out in the ECHR.” 

The convention, incorporated into UK law by Labour’s 1998 Human Rights Act, has been a target of many Conservatives for a long time.

This month, ministers unveiled plans to “opt out” of parts of it in order to speed up deportations of asylum seekers, and to protect British troops serving overseas from legal action.

Human rights claims where judges have supposedly “overreached” their powers will be targeted.

The 1,255-page text of the Brexit deal, published on Saturday, says the security aspects of it would be “terminated on account of the United Kingdom or a member state having denounced the European Convention on Human Rights”.

Despite Lord Ricketts’ warnings, the home secretary, Priti Patel, insisted that “the UK will continue to be one of the safest countries in the world”.

"I'm immensely proud of the comprehensive package of capabilities we've agreed with the EU,” she said.

“It means both sides have effective tools to tackle serious crime and terrorism, protecting the public and bringing criminals to justice.

“But we will also seize this historic opportunity to make the UK safer and more secure through firmer and fairer border controls.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in