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Police warn of impact of European justice powers

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Re: Police warn of impact of European justice powers

Post by sharonl on 13.09.10 13:23


hi Hi Annabel - and thanks, great find

Police warn of impact of European justice powers
Britain's top police officers have issued an official warning about the serious impact that new European justice powers could have on their work.

By Andrew Gilligan
Published: 10:22PM BST 11 Sep 2010

Commander Allan Gibson, the Association of Chief Police Officers' spokesman on extradition, confirmed that he had written to the Government expressing concern over the European Investigation Order (EIO).

Under the measure, agreed by the Coalition in July, foreign police will have the power to order British forces to carry out investigations, house and body searches and surveillance in this country on their behalf.

Police will have much less discretion to refuse such requests than under the current system of "mutual assistance".

The measure, part of Brussels's efforts to "harmonise" policing and justice throughout the European Union, has alarmed Euro-sceptics and civil liberties campaigners.

In his letter, Cdr Gibson, the Metropolitan Police's head of economic and specialist crime, says police fear the EIO "could be an inefficient instrument" because of the risk of forces being loaded with trivial requests.

"If it's done correctly, the EIO is a potentially very useful instrument," he told The Sunday Telegraph. "But there are issues around proportionality."

Other senior officers believe the order could place "massive" burdens on forces already facing up to 25 per cent cuts under the Coalition's spending review.

"We are going to have to stop investigating some of our own crimes in order to start investigating other people's," said one.

The concerns follow experience with the separate "no-evidence-needed" European Arrest Warrant, which last year saw more than a thousand people in Britain seized and extradited on the orders of European prosecutors – often for minor crimes such as possessing cannabis or leaving a petrol station without paying.

The number of people detained under the warrant has gone up 43-fold since 2004, and rose by more than 50 per cent last year alone. Thousands of hours of scarce police, court and prison officer time are taken up by the process.

There is no "proportionality test" in the arrest warrant and Cdr Gibson called for the introduction of such a test in the EIO.

Mark Taylor, the secretary of the Police Federation's legislation subcommittee, said police were deeply concerned about the new order.

"This is very resource-intensive, and where are the resources going to come from?" he said. Last week, the federation said the cuts demanded by the Coalition could see forces lose up to 40,000 front line officers.

The EIO's supporters say it will also benefit British police, allowing them to make the same demands for investigation to their European counterparts, saving time, money and uncertainty in the investigation of transnational crime.

But Britain tends to use cross-border powers more sparingly than some other European nations, reserving them for serious offences.

The EIO, currently in draft form, is expected to be finalised later this year or in 2011 and will come into effect next year.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, told MPs that the Government would "seek to ensure" that the final version contained a proportionality test.

However, its final shape will be decided by qualified majority voting, meaning that Britain could be outvoted on the issue.

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Re: Police warn of impact of European justice powers

Post by kangdang on 13.09.10 13:41

When will folk get it through their skulls that the 'Nation State' discourse is over!

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Re: Police warn of impact of European justice powers

Post by baconbutty on 13.09.10 13:47

Agreed!

And in terms of Justice for Madeleine, these new powera can only be good news, surely! thumbsup

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Re: Police warn of impact of European justice powers

Post by kangdang on 13.09.10 13:56

Asolutely. And Gibson's attempt to minimize specific crimes..I am disappointed. A crime is a crime, and appropriate punishment must be metted out regardless.

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Re: Police warn of impact of European justice powers

Post by baconbutty on 13.09.10 14:48

"We are going to have to stop investigating some of our own crimes in order to start investigating other people's," said one.

Now that's just a ridiculous remark.
If all the European police forces cooperate fully then international crimes are going to be solved a lot quicker. Therefore there will in the long run be more time for investigating the home-grown variety.
If it stops the UK from deliberately dragging its feet when help is needed from other countries, all well and good!

(ETA -- sorry, typo in previous post. Eyesight always bad, now much worse after years of this Mccann malarkey!)

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