Police pledge to work closely with European forces


British police must continue to work closely with their European counterparts following the Brexit vote, senior officers have said.

The outcome of the referendum raises questions about a number of EU law enforcement arrangements.

Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, vice chairman at the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Ahead of the EU referendum, we stated our need to work closely and at speed with European countries to keep people in the UK safe from organised crime, cyberattack, terrorism or violent offenders.

“This operational requirement must be maintained as the UK leaves the European Union.”

He added: “It is now for the Government to negotiate the terms of our relationship with Europe but we will work with them to ensure we retain our ability to share intelligence, biometrics and other data at speed and to work with foreign police forces on linked investigations, inquiries and arrests.”

Meanwhile, the body that represents rank-and-file officers said their rights must be protected.

Andy Fittes, general secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Now that the public has voted for the UK to exit the European Union it will be vitally important that we continue to work closely with the Government and key stakeholders to protect those rights our members receive that stem from European Union legislation.

“Many of these have been incorporated into police regulations including working time directives, various elements of equality legislation such as paid maternity leave and parts of health and safety legislation.

“It’s important these are not affected and we, as will other large organisations, will seek reassurances that they remain unchanged.

“What other changes will take place and what these will mean for those we represent remains to be seen. What is important is that we are involved in those discussions and negotiations throughout.”