18:31 GMT30 July 2021
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    Citizens may be less safe if the UK has to leave key policing agreements after Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May said at a dinner in Brussels. Sputnik has discussed this with Dr. David Lowe, terrorism and security expert and a former police officer.

    Dr. David Lowe: I think this started really at the beginning of last week, with Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, saying that these issues were likely to happen with Brexit. It was something that really I was quite surprised that this should be a major bargaining issue over the Brexit negotiations. Because it's ok the EU saying we will be the third country, I accept that. I did vote remain, so I look at it and go: Fair enough, this is what we got to face.

    I think there are good points to the EU. There are issues that are not so good with the EU. What frustrates me with this is, how can this be a negotiating issue, trade, customs duties, I get that, because the whole of the EU is based on business and having this customs area where there would be free movements of goods and people working. I get that, but this is non-negotiable, yes we'll be a third country, but the UK is part of Europe.

    READ MORE: UK, Germany to Continue Cooperation in Security After Brexit — Merkel

    It's not like we're a third country like Canada, the US, Australia, thousands of miles away. Criminals and terrorists in Europe travel across and they don't think: oh, this is a boundary, oh, I'm now leaving the EU, they don't think that. I think this a great concern.

    Sputnik: Why is Theresa May herself so concerned about this? And why is this rearing its head now? There's a lot of concerns with regard to whether Mrs. May really wants the country to Brexit, is she using this as a tool to maneuver, do you think?

    Dr. David Lowe: I mean, obviously she has an interest and don't forget she was the longest serving Home Secretary. So issues of security and crime she is well-versed in and she well and truly knows the benefits of sharing an intelligence system, of having things like quick extraditions through the European arrest warrant.

    The European arrest warrant is another example if we're going to have to negotiate this, well let's negotiate it because a number of the member-states constitutions, like Germany, will not extradite people outside the EU and now that will include the UK. At the moment with the European arrest warrant it can take up to 7 or 14 days if the person appeals against it, it can take 14 days to have a person extradited. This is a benefit. We're talking about serious criminals here, we're talking about people who traffic human beings, who traffic drugs, track firearms.

    READ MORE: European Intervention Force: a Mini-NATO?

    The EU, Barnier in particular, and those negotiating who want this are cutting off the nose to spite the face because they will make the 27 member states also suffer if we prolong the sharing of intelligence and cooperation.

    Sputnik: Do you think a consensus is likely to be reached, common sense can be found between London and Brussels on security measures post-Brexit moving forward then?

    Dr. David Lowe: What we may be seeing here is a bit of politicking going on behalf of the EU because I'm quite sure there will be police chiefs, there will be security chiefs and the other 27 members-states will be sending messages saying: "Hang on a minute, this is ridiculous."

    As I said earlier, I get issues on trade and what we can do businesswise. But this is different, we're talking about peoples lives here, peoples lives and security, people who will be victims of serious crime. This is a serious issue and really I think it's non-negotiable, I think this is politicking. I think one of the things we're seeing throughout these negotiations, and I'm not saying the UK is being perfect, I think they've been bloody-minded too, but also I think the EU has.

    READ MORE: No Deal Brexit 'Devastating' for UK, May 'More Hostage Than Leader' — Tony Blair

    And I think what they're trying to do is because there is disquiet amongst other member-states of why are we in the EU. You look at the recent elections in Italy and so on, the likes of Barnier and the other negotiators are trying to teach the other 27 member-states a lesson: should you want to leave and you'll have a hard time too. As I said I get that over trade, but not this.

    Here we're talking about peoples lives. I think that's a big part of it and you're right some compromise will come, the pressure will come within the EU on Barnier and his colleagues to come to some agreement with the UK.

    Sputnik: The general consensus is that in terms of the Brexit negotiations its way down the European Union's list of priorities, they're listening into the British general feedback, they're reading the papers, they're watching the television programs, generally, British people and politicians don't really follow the foreign news, they don't read foreign newspapers in mainland Europe, what's the general feeling of the British public at the moment? Are they getting a little bit tired of it or are they being very patient?

    Dr. David Lowe: It's a bit of both I think, having excellent sideshows like the World Cup at the moment is taking peoples minds off it, thankfully. I think people are getting a bit tired of it, you start seeing Brexit headlines and I think people are skipping it.

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    Theresa May now is a minority government. Should she have held a general election last year? The results say that maybe she shouldn't, but she's got very strong  Leave conservative MPs. We've got a very weak opposition with the Labour Party, they're divided.

    The views and opinions expressed by the expert do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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