Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Leave Vote's a Security Risk, Warn Crime Chiefs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Leave Vote's a Security Risk, Warn Crime Chiefs

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor

CRIME chiefs across the North East have warned that quitting the European Union would make the region less safe - and could allow some criminals to go free.

The EU helps us fight terrorism, say police and crime commissioners.

And it has ensured 650 suspected criminals or convicts on the run were extradited from EU countries, ensuring that they can be brought before British courts or serve their punishment in the UK.

The warning came in a letter signed by Labour's police and crime commissioners (PCCs) including Northumberland PCC Vera Baird, Durham PCC Ron Hogg and Cleveland PCC Barry Coppinger.

They highlighted the importance of the European Arrest Warrant, which is an arrest warrant valid throughout the European Union - making it much easier for one member state to arrest a suspect and send them to another country where they are wanted by police.

And they also warned that leaving the EU in the referendum on June 23 would mean the UK has to leave Europol, the cross-border agency which fights serious international organised crime.

The PCCs said: "Over the last five years, more than 5,000 people have been extradited from the UK on a European Arrest Warrant. That number includes more than 200 alleged killers and rapists and a number of suspected terrorists.

"In return, police in the UK have received almost 650 people that they wanted to bring before the courts, including 51 alleged killers."

They added: "Terrorist networks, gangs and cyber criminals operate across borders and are difficult to monitor, which is why firm and coordinated international action is needed to destroy them."

It comes with fewer than four weeks to go before the historic vote which will decide whether the UK stays in the EU or quits.

Supporters of membership highlighted a new report which predicts 100,000 UK manufacturing jobs will be created by the EU's single market if we remain a member. New analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research said there are currently almost 950,000 UK manufacturing jobs linked to EU trade, including 41,000 in the North East. …

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