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Stormont justice minister worried post-Brexit data agreement ‘not yet in place’

Naomi Long said there is a lot of work for negotiators over the next eight weeks before the end of the transition period.

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The EU and Union flags (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The EU and Union flags (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The EU and Union flags (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Concern has been voiced that a deal over sharing data has not yet been agreed for the end of the Brexit transition period.

Stormont Justice Minister Naomi Long said her department is working to prepare “as far as possible” for the new relationship.

“The key risks for my department from EU exit are the loss of EU tools to facilitate co-operation by law enforcement partners and the impact of EU exit on crime, organised crime and public disorder,” she told MLAs during Justice Minister questions.

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Justice minister Naomi Long (NI Assembly/PA)

Justice minister Naomi Long (NI Assembly/PA)

Justice minister Naomi Long (NI Assembly/PA)

“Planning to mitigate these risks continues to be impacted by uncertainty around the shape of any future security partnership and the nature of the wider relationship between the UK and the EU at the end of the transition period.”

Ms Long said the European arrest warrant is key, and while there are “a number of mechanisms”, “none are as effective or as efficient”.

She also expressed concern in terms of how information will be shared across borders.

“There is a particular issue around data adequacy which ensures that we can, in live-time, share information across borders.

“That data adequacy agreement is not yet in place, and it is a key issue for justice should we exit the transition period without that agreement being in place,” she said.

“That is the day-to-day impact that this would have in terms of the ability of operational partners to share personal data for the detection and prosecution of pan-EU crime and particularly of cross border crime.

“So there is clearly a challenge to be reached within the next eight weeks and there is a real pressure on all of those involved in these negotiations, and to get down to the detail, to get this over the line, and to get an agreement which will allow us to continue to provide a safe, a secure and a good co-operative relationship across the border.”

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