Terror alarm as Scotland forced out of EU intelligence databases by UK

BREXIT could leave Scotland[1] more at risk of a terrorist attack, a Brussels security chief has warned, just days before the UK leaves the EU. In a briefing for Scottish journalists, a senior European source said Britain’s exit from the bloc, may lead to police and security services being frozen out of a top-level new Europe[2]-wide database. The SNP[3]‘s Joanna Cherry said that Scotland being forced out of the EU despite voting to remain would only benefit “those that are trying to escape the law.”

The Scottish Police Federation’s Calum Steele said it would be a “significant blow for the fight against cross-border crime.” The “interoperability” programme brings together information from a number of other systems, linking border, visa and fingerprint databases for the first time. It was created in the wake of the 2016 terrorist attack in Berlin when a 40-tonne truck was deliberately driven by a Daesh “soldier of the Islamic State” into a Christmas market in the city, killing 12 people and injuring 56.

The perpetrator Anis Amri’s use of at least 14 different aliases allowed him to slip through the cracks. READ MORE: Brexit: Scotland snubbed in key talks as Northern Ireland has say[4] The new system allows border guards or police officers to simultaneously search multiple EU information systems to verify identity.

Ironically, the new system being introduced across the 27 remaining member states this year was masterminded by the last British commissioner to Europe, Julian King. Terror alarm as Scotland forced out of EU intelligence databases by UK Speaking in Brussels, the EU chief said it was like a Prime Minister ordering a jet plane for his successor that they themselves would never get to use.

“There is no third country that has access to those databases,” the source said. “There are third countries that are in Schengen that don’t have access to those databases. “Now you never say never in anything, but certainly when the UK becomes a third country it’s not a question of just starting where you are now and taking a few things away.

“The negotiation works the other way around. It starts with nothing and builds upwards.” READ MORE: MPs vote down Brexit Bill amendment calling for devolution assurances[5]

“And so one of the things that you would need in order to be able to exchange any sort of information, which is possibly more important – well it’s important in trade as well as in security – is a data adequacy agreement with the EU, where the EU judges that the standards used to apply data protection etc are equivalent or whatever. “And that’s your starting point before you get in anything.” Cherry, who speaks for the SNP on justice, said: “Brexit[6] jeopardises the close security arrangements we have with our EU partners.

“Any post-Brexit security measures are almost certain to be less effective than those Scotland currently has through our membership of the EU.” She added: “As the SNP has repeatedly pointed out – the only people that will benefit from reduced access to European security arrangements will be those that are trying to escape the law.” READ MORE: First Minister to press ahead with plans for indyref2020[7]

Steele said: “The risk of loss of this access was one of the earliest risks identified by police officers when Brexit was first mooted.

“It’s disappointing but not altogether surprising that in amongst all the political grandstanding, the impact on policing and intelligence appears to have been neglected.”

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References

  1. ^ Scotland (www.thenational.scot)
  2. ^ Europe (www.thenational.scot)
  3. ^ SNP (www.thenational.scot)
  4. ^ Brexit: Scotland snubbed in key talks as Northern Ireland has say (www.thenational.scot)
  5. ^ MPs vote down Brexit Bill amendment calling for devolution assurances (www.thenational.scot)
  6. ^ Brexit (www.thenational.scot)
  7. ^ First Minister to press ahead with plans for indyref2020 (www.thenational.scot)

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