Lord Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis from 2011 until 2017, spoke last week in the House of Lords and insisted that security will not be impacted in the wake of Brexit.
Speaking throughout the Brexit debate, the Sheffield-born life peer, said that the UK and the EU have been effective at sharing criminal intelligence, wanted lists and extradition warrants through Europol, which is not an enforcement agency.
However, he stressed that that the UK still not a member of Prüm – the European database of DNA, fingerprints and facial images that is shared across Europe. He said that the European extradition warrant was efficient and consistent across Europe, but it required a sufficiency of evidence to charge in the requesting country before such a warrant could be issued. The result was, on return to this country, a suspect could not be interviewed and had to be charged immediately. Lord Hogan-Howe argued that this “interrupted some very good investigations.” He said that the additional bureaucracy in the EU was viewed with an element of dread in the Metropolitan Police:
The dreaded words “EU procurement in public service” usually means 18 months of little progress. The contradiction is that it takes longer to make a worse decision than in commerce.
Moving to the discussions of defence and intelligence-sharing, Baron Hogan-Howe said that our military strength depends on our own investments and innovation, together with those of our allies. Our major military bulwark is NATO. It does not rely on Europe. Our intelligence sources, he argued are more dependent upon the “five eyes” community of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, rather than European Union.
The crux of his argument centred on the notion that our security will not be influenced by the decision to leave the European Union. The UK is able to look after itself, or rely on partners outside the European Union, rather than turn to the Continent.