TEN countries, including France and Germany, will no longer extradite criminals to the UK after Brexit, the government has admitted.
The move comes after the UK left the European Union and ended its participation in the European arrest warrant program.
A letter from the Home Office to the European Commission of the House of Lords confirmed that Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden will stop extraditing criminals to the UK.
The ten countries “will invoke constitutional rules as a reason not to extradite their own nationals to the UK,” the letter said.
Austria and the Czech Republic will only extradite their nationals to the UK with their consent.
The new rules do not apply to foreign nationals residing in the ten countries, Austria or the Czech Republic, but only their nationals.
A report released by the EU’s Committee of Lords on Friday said the new arrangements were “untested” and their effectiveness should be reviewed.
Extradition is the process by which one country asks another to return a person to stand trial or serve a sentence.
NEW EXTRADITION UNIT
After the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020, the UK is no longer part of the European arrest warrant system.
The system was introduced in 2004 and has been used for suspected terrorists, drug traffickers and murderers over the years.
As the UK is no longer participating in the program, it may now have to attempt to prosecute in other countries or contact Interpol – the International Criminal Police Organization – in the hope that a suspect can be arrested in another country and then brought back for trial. .
Before the end of the transition period in December, a new national extradition unit has been established in the UK, said Richard Martin, head of the National Council of Chiefs of Police on Brexit.
Mr Martin said police had two choices if countries refused to extradite suspects.
He explained: “First, we are working with the Crown Prosecution Service and deciding whether it is in the public interest to try to prosecute these people in their home country.
“The second is that we broadcast them on Interpol anyway because as soon as they enter another country, they’re fair, so we can stop them in that country and bring them back. ”
Regarding the extradition of British nationals, the government has stated in its guidelines: “The United Kingdom will, as a matter of principle, extradite its own nationals, providing that no extradition ban applies.
“Some countries are not allowed to extradite their own nationals, but generally have provisions in place which mean that while they will not extradite their own nationals, they may be prepared to prosecute them. ”
After Brexit, the UK no longer has access to the Schengen Information System, in which EU member states share real-time information on wanted or missing people.
Law enforcement agencies in the UK have accessed the database over 600 million times a year.
The EU’s Committee of Lords report called the change “the biggest gap in terms of capacity loss”.
He added: “This means that, for the time being, law enforcement officers can no longer immediately have access to real-time data on people and objects of interest, including wanted and missing people.
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“The back-up system, the Interpol I-24/7 database, currently delivers data in hours, not seconds. ”
Home Secretary Kevin Foster said the UK continued to cooperate with the EU on new law enforcement and security arrangements.
He said: “Some EU member states have long had constitutional bans against the extradition of their own nationals to third countries, which is why we have negotiated a specific agreement that allows offenders to be brought to justice. justice by another route, even when a country does not extradite its own national. ”