October 11, 2019 / 4:57 PM / a month ago

Brexit no-deal 'would hamper UK/EU police co-operation'

FILE PHOTO: A police officer stands in the Mall for the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony in central London, Britain June 11, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - British police would have less ability to cooperate on security with their counterparts in the European Union in a no-deal Brexit, a police chiefs’ organisation said on Friday.

“We are ready to use alternative arrangements to the current EU tools and powers, but they are not like-for-like replacements,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for Brexit.

“In all cases the replacements are slower, less effective, and more bureaucratic for officers than our existing setup.”

Ahead of an Oct. 31 Brexit deadline, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to strike a transition deal with the EU, but he has also pledged to take the country out of the bloc without one if necessary.

After a no-deal Brexit, British police would lose access to the Schengen border data system, the European Arrest Warrant, the European Criminal Records Information System, Europol and European Investigation Orders, the NPCC said.

The group said operational plans for a range of potential scenarios, including protests, crime and emergencies, had been finalised and tested.

“We expect protests to occur, whatever the outcome of our exit from the EU,” the NPCC’s lead for operations, Chief Constable Charlie Hall said.

“Protests to date have been predominantly peaceful and we will continue to monitor intelligence in our efforts to ensure this continues.”

Annual police leave plans were on hold in 26 regional forces, the NPCC said, a little over half the total.

Reporting by Michael Holden; writing by William Schomberg; editing by Stephen Addison

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