Home Secretary Priti Patel has hailed the UK’s new comprehensive security agreement with the EU that will see the UK continuing to be one of the safest countries in the world.
A range of fast and effective security capabilities were agreed with the EU, which will help bear down on criminals and bring them to justice.
Measures agreed include:
streamlined extradition arrangements;
an arrangement enabling the fast and effective exchange of national DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data via the Prüm system to aid law enforcement agencies in investigating crime and terrorism;
continued operational co-operation with Europol and Eurojust that reflect the scale of our contribution to these agencies;
arrangements enabling the fast and effective exchange of criminal records data via shared technical infrastructure; and
arrangements providing for continued transfers of Passenger Name Record data to protect the public from serious crime and terrorism.
It is the first time the EU has agreed such a comprehensive agreement with a third country in this area. It ensures the UK can work with counterparts across Europe to tackle serious crime and terrorism, protecting the public and bringing criminals to justice.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
The safety and security of UK citizens is the Government’s top priority and the UK will continue to be one of the safest countries in the world.
I’m immensely proud of the comprehensive package of capabilities we’ve agreed with the EU. It means both sides have effective tools to tackle serious crime and terrorism, protecting the public and bringing criminals to justice.
But we will also seize this historic opportunity to make the UK safer and more secure through firmer and fairer border controls.
The UK is a leader in global security and will continue to play its part on the international stage to keep people safe. In addition to the deal, work such as the UK’s 2025 Border Strategy and co-operation with international partners, will ensure we tackle threats as varied as terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration.
From 1 January 2021, free movement will end and tougher border rules for EU criminals will come into force. Under these changes, foreign criminals sentenced to more than a year in jail will be banned from entering the UK.
The UK will also make it harder for criminals to operate and smuggle illicit commodities such as guns and drugs into the country. From July 2021, the UK will start receiving advance data on all goods coming from the EU into Great Britain, something which has not previously been possible under EU rules.
The UK is also phasing out the use of insecure identity documents used to enter the UK. From 1 October 2021, the UK will refuse to recognise EEA and Swiss national identity cards which are some of the most insecure and abused document seen at the border and often used by organised crime groups.
The Government is also providing the police with more powers to protect the public. From 1 January 2021, the police will have the power to detain fugitives wanted by close partner countries immediately without having to apply for a UK arrest warrant first. This means that criminals will be brought to justice faster.
Further details on the security arrangement can be found on the UK-EU Trade and co-operation agreement summary.