‘Irish cross-border policing under threat from no-deal Brexit’

Support us and go ad-free

Cross-border police co-operation in Ireland is at serious risk in the event of a no-deal Brexit, new research has found.

A report published on Thursday warned that any Brexit-related disruption could have serious consequences for policing, justice and extradition.

The study, Evolving Justice Arrangements Post-Brexit, commissioned by the Joint Committee of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, was carried out by academics at the University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde and Queen’s University Belfast.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Drawn from interviews with experts directly involved in policing and post-Brexit justice arrangements, the research found that Brexit fallback options will lead to inefficiency and ineffectiveness, bringing negative impacts and outcomes for victims and witnesses of crime.

It focuses on justice and security co-operation measures across five areas including the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), policing, prosecution co-operation, and data- sharing tools.

Despite goodwill between the two police forces, the PSNI and An Garda Siochana, the research found that legal restrictions could have an impact on operational capability, investigations and prosecutions.

For example, a current deal does not exist between the UK and Irish governments to allow police engaged in “hot pursuit” of a suspect to cross the border.

Should Britain leave without a deal, the report also states there will be immediate consequences for the ability of the UK to participate in EU-led justice and security measures, although the EU Withdrawal Agreement does makes provision for a transitional period.

For example, European Arrest Warrants have seen high numbers of successful extraditions but, in the case of a hard Brexit, it is likely the UK will need to rely on the 1957 Convention on Extradition which then-home secretary Theresa May noted in 2014 “could undermine public safety”.

The UK’s access to systems which allow police to harvest intelligence will also be affected.

Even “with the utmost goodwill” there may be practical constraints on how closely the UK and EU27 can work together post-Brexit if they are no longer bound by the same rules, enforced by the same supranational institutions, the report warns.

Human rights organisations say any threat to north-south police co-operation must be mitigated immediately in order to preserve peace on the island of Ireland.

The report makes 13 separate recommendations for a future UK-EU security and justice relationship which also prioritises human rights protections.

Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, said the findings mirror what has recently been said by senior police officers in Northern Ireland.

“The new UK Government has said very little about how these issues will be managed in a no-deal situation, and how existing rights, safeguards, oversight and accountability will be maintained,” he said.

“We should not be playing fast and loose with these issues.”

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, said: “While seemingly absent from public discussion on Brexit, the significance of UK-EU justice and security co-operation and the threats from it breaking down cannot be ignored considering the needs of victims of crime, witnesses of crime and the efforts of police services to safeguard people.

“This research brought forward by the Joint Committee makes it clear that, if we are to have functioning justice co-operation post-Brexit, ensuring common adherence to human rights standards is essential.”

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us