As many of you know, I strongly believe that our safety and security is achieved through us working with our partners and allies across the world. Being able to share police and security force information with dozens of our neighbouring countries ensures that we can hunt down criminals quicker than if we did it alone.
EUROPOL is one of those organisations that we must maintain membership of. But the UK Government wants us to leave it. This is a ridiculous idea that puts ideological fervor over pragmatism. I wanted to check if this was still the UK Government’s policy during Home Office Questions.
Sadly, the non-answer I received seemed to indicate that this is still the UK Government’s policy. This will undermine our police and security services. I will continue to campaign for us to retain our membership of EUROPOL to keep Delyn and the UK safe.
A new report was published by the UK Government this week on the impacts on the UK and the UK Government’s preparedness for it.
One section that I found deeply worrying was that on security. In the document it noted that we will lose access to all security protocols in place that keep us safe. Meaning our access to information on criminals would be undermined.
The Minister decided to play the blame game instead of answering my point. What he didn’t tell you was that the UK Government has always been intent on opting out of some of the security measures currently in place because of their ideologically driven red lines. They are undermining our national security and the sooner they realise that Brexit is not an internal Conservative Party game and is a serious policy decision being made for our country the sooner we can have some grown up politics.
Before Parliament was unlawfully shut down, I voted with my colleagues to ensure the release of the Yellowhammer papers. These papers outlined the impact of a no deal Brexit upon the country.
As you know, my gravest concerns for a no deal Brexit have focused on its impacts upon our security and safety. Leaving without a deal means we lose all the security tools our police and security services use on a daily basis. Things like the European Arrest Warrant – allowing us to track down criminals who have fled the country and bring them back to face justice – EUROPOL – which allows us to share information with police forces across the EU – and SIS 2 – the border monitoring software.
In paragraph 10 of the report, which was drafted by Boris Johnson MP’s government, it notes that we will lose access to all of these and it will put us at risk. I asked the Minister responsible for no deal Brexit, Michael Gove MP, if he had made a risk assessment on this. But more importantly if he thought the risk was worth taking.
The Minister provided no solid response.
The rising in violent crime in North Wales should concern us all. It is happening under a backdrop of cuts to our policing budgets and the number of police officers on our streets.
This week, Labour secured an Urgent Question on the rise in violent crime following the devastating deaths on the streets of London. We are struggling with similar problems in North East Wales as County Lines have spread from Liverpool to Cheshire and Flintshire. The only way to tackle this in the long-term is through Neighbourhood Policing.
I pointed out to the Minister that even her own boss, the Home Secretary, has said that he wants to recruit 20,000 more police officers if he becomes Prime Minister. That happens to be the number of police officers cut since I was Policing Minister for Labour in 2009-10. Cuts that I said at the time would have dire consequences.
The Minister tried to sing the praises of the additional 3,000 officers. It doesn’t take complex mathematics to figure out that still means we have 17,000 officers fewer than 2009-10. She then mentioned that I voted down the Policing Grant last year. This is true. But what the Minister did not mention was this is due to the fact that it was still a cut from previous budgets.
The Government need to listen to communities and police officers. We need more police and we need them now.