Part of a series from the Fresh Start Group on what Leave would look like.

What does Vote Leave mean for Justice and Security?

It means:

  • We can block any EU criminals and terrorists from coming into the UK
  • We can continue to share data and cooperate on law enforcement, as other non-EU governments already do

“Greater control over immigration would be an “important security gain” from Brexit.” – Sir Richard Dearlove, Former MI6 Chief, 23rd March 2016

Current problems with EU membership

Although we are not in the Schengen (border free) area of the EU, the UK’s security suffers because of EU rules on free movement:

  • EU rules mean we can only bar people coming into the country who are a genuine, serious and present threat to UK security, a higher threshold than applies to non-EU nationals. In the last 10 years, we have refused entry to 1 EU national for every 18 non-EU nationals barred – despite the fact that many more Europeans entered the UK.
  • Frontex, the EU border agency, admits that an unprecedented 1.8 million illegal migrants entered the EU in 2015, the ‘vast majority’ of whom were undocumented. Many give false declarations of nationality which are nonetheless registered because of systematic failings in certain EU member states.
  • The number of people trying to enter the UK from Europe with fraudulent documents surged by 70 per cent in the last year alone.
  • The Director of Europol, Rob Wainwright, estimates that up to 5000 people are back in Europe having attended training camps run by Islamic State.

Immediately following Vote Leave

There will be a smooth transition following Vote Leave. We will restore full democratic control over our borders, law enforcement and justice system. We will also ensure continuity of operational cooperation with our EU partners through transitional arrangements, as well as by negotiating new ones. We can take our time to get this right.

However, some things we can do immediately:

  • Amend the European Communities Act to end the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
  • Strengthen our powers to deny entry to criminals and those who present a threat to national security.
  • Strengthen our powers to deport criminals, terrorists or others presenting a security risk.

Within 2-5 years of Vote Leave

With transitional arrangements, we can ensure there are no gaps in operational cooperation with our EU partners. That will enable us to take the time and care to negotiate a new relationship:

  • Continuing to share data including passenger name records – as the USA, Canada and Australia already do with the EU.
  • Co-operating with EU countries on crime and policing at Europol, as many non-EU countries already do. 12 non-EU countries already have officers based at Europol (the US has more than most EU countries).
  • Continuing our close operational relationship with Frontex – this is straightforward, because we already have close cooperation, even though we’re not a member of Frontex.
  • Negotiating continuing extradition arrangements. The government’s Statutory Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, described this as ‘very likely’.

The website of the Fresh Start Group of Conservative MPs can be found here.