“Police need certainty on post-Brexit landscape”
20 September 2018
Simon Kempton, PFEW Operational Policing Lead
Operational Policing Lead Simon Kempton calls upon the Government and chief officers to provide reassurance on the policing landscape post March 2019.
The National Police Chiefs' Council announced that a new national unit will be set up to assist police forces to use alternatives if the UK loses access to current EU data sharing and cooperation tools following Brexit.
The contingency plans, agreed on September 17 by all chief constables, will see UK law enforcement revert to use of international police tools through Interpol, bilateral channels and Council of Europe conventions to enable extradition of suspects, trace missing people and share intelligence about crime and terrorism.
In response, Simon Kempton, PFEW Operational Policing Lead said: “I find it highly concerning that with Brexit only six months away we still don’t know what the policing landscape will look like post 29 March, 2019.
“The ‘new’ unit which was announced yesterday is a positive move – albeit late in the day – but I hope it will help officers to find post-Brexit ‘work arounds’ and alternative methods to enable them continue to be able to do the work they can do now under European Law. However my worry is that the officers used to staff this unit will need to be diverted from other already stretched areas, thus creating more capacity and back-filling issues.
“The staff will also have just six months to establish themselves and get to grips with a remit which will remain undefined until the Government decide what exit deal – if any – it is going to make with the rest of Europe.
“As well as this element of the process we as a Federation are also monitoring closely the planning around the UK’s departure and any domestic policing issues that may result from it.
“I have been involved in various strategic meetings and am aware there have been discussions about cancelling officers’ rest days and putting a moratorium on leave in the weeks and even months immediately pre and post March 29.
"And while there is no evidence to suggest there will be an increase in crime and disorder when a Brexit takes place, public protest remains a possibility.
“Unfortunately the planning and resourcing around such events will put further strain on a service which is already struggling from years of cuts and a lack of investment and support.
“And it cannot be right that officers and their families are facing uncertainty over when they will be able to see their loved ones over this period. I call upon the Government and chief officers to provide the reassurance needed that plans will be made sufficiently early to negate the need for last-minute provisions.
“The Government – as ever – needs to get its house in order to avoid Brexit being at best a bureaucratic nightmare and at worse a dangerous situation created by its inability to provide certainty on this matter, he concluded.”