Belfast Telegraph

Garda chief concerned over Brexit impact

By Robin Schiller

Over 60 years of co-operation between law enforcement agencies in the UK and Europe will "fall away" post-Brexit, the Republic's top police officer has warned.

Garda commissioner Drew Harris also expressed his concerns about the impact Brexit will have on criminal justice matters between the UK, Ireland and wider European police services.

Over the past 18 months additional resources have been added to the border area, Mr Harris said, and that gardai will ensure it remains "an area where the rule of law applies".

"It is a fact that a lot of the criminal justice treaties that the UK is a member of will fall away for the UK and that is not going to simplify policing, but we are in constant operational contact with our colleagues in the Police Service of Northern Ireland but also across the Irish sea to the UK's National Crime Agency," he said.

"Our relationships are good, we're working through what specific issues might be. It is a fact that the UK, through Brexit, is losing access to a lot of the EU's criminal justice treaties and the investigative provisions that they apply, but we can't avoid that and we have to mitigate that as much as we can in terms of our operational work with the PSNI.

"We want to make sure we're still able to share information. If one thinks that the treaty we will fall back to was written in 1959, so 60 years of improvement is going to fall away in terms of the development of criminal justice cooperation across Europe, so it's not going to be the same."

A separate report yesterday warned that cross-border police co-operation in Ireland is at serious risk in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Any Brexit-related disruption could have serious consequences for policing, justice and extradition, according to the study, which was commissioned by the Joint Committee of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

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