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Post-Brexit security arrangements a 'win-win'


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Senior NCA figure says EU partners want to continue cooperating.

Steve Smart and DAC Richard Martin

Steve Smart and DAC Richard Martin


There is belief on both sides that the UK can stay within the European law enforcement systems after Brexit, a senior figure believes.

National Crime Agency director of intelligence Steve Smart told a parliamentary committee that security is vital to both sides of negotiations on future arrangements with the European Union.

“I think there is general agreement that trying to keep the UK with the access it has now and the ability to continue to take part and help shape. It’s not something just we feel it’s how our European partners feel," he said.

“From a security and law enforcement perspective we need to come up with a treaty that’s win-win for both sides.

“Obviously there are difficulties and complications because this is not just about a security treaty, it’s very much for the government and their negotiating teams."

Mr Smart added there is recognition the UK makes a net contribution to organisations such as Europol in terms of the information it provides.

He was speaking to the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee, alongside Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin from the Met Police.

They both warned that the criminal intelligence database and criminal records systems which UK personnel have swift access to are vital in aiding law enforcement.

DAC Martin stressed the importance of achieving agreements. “Not withstanding that a lot of the debate is very public, criminal groups aren’t daft. It may be they’re already thinking that if certain powers don’t exist they may operate here knowing it’s far harder to be extradited from a country than [where] they are, or vice versa.”

Asked if he foresees any benefits of Brexit, he said: “There is an opportunity to have stronger borders to have more intervention potentially at borders if we’re not in.

“It depends on what sort of information sharing we have at the borders but I think there are opportunities to put more focus there.”

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