Police forces throughout the EU are due to gain extra powers to operate on the soil of other member countries as well as demanding evidence from other countries’ forces as a result of the European Investigation Order (EIO).

Under the order all EU police forces would be able to demand the personal details and possibly even the DNA of suspects that have left the country where the crime was committed. It will also cover surveillance and access to banking details.

The decision as to whether the UK will sign up to this must be taken by July 28th.

This of course has the anti-EU brigade out in droves claiming the ‘EU big brother state’ is taking over the UK, conveniently forgetting that our own plod will be able to reciprocate.

This move is seen as an addition to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), which has already replaced the extradition procedures between member states.

I am no fan of the corrupt EU that has not been able to prove its accounts to any meaningful body for about sixteen years. But I do wish that Euro-sceptics and their favoured publications would choose a more logical way of attacking the EU than berating the EIO in such a one sided fashion. After all, if a citizen of another EU state committed murder in the UK then skipped abroad they’d want the power of the EIO and EAW then. The one scenario they paint is that of ‘plane loads’ of British holiday-makers being forced to hand over DNA just because they visited a resort where a murder took place. Well, if a British child was suspected of being murdered by a foreign holiday-maker I bet these ‘papers would be calling for the same, and then some!

Far from wasting police time it may save time and money by giving the police forces of all states the teeth to quickly and efficiently get their hands on law breakers.

With globalisation of business and travel comes globalisation of crime. Scams operated from abroad over the internet, people going on holiday to indulge in acts that are illegal in the UK, both sexual (child sex tourism) and drug related. It is important that the police have the powers to combat that crime.

What UK citizens need to be assured of is that there will be sufficient safeguards in place to protect their data and their rights. We also need to ensure that someone who commits an act on UK soil that is illegal in another member state cannot be hounded by the law of that other state. But if they commit an act that is illegal here and escape abroad then the police should have the ability to go after them wherever in the EU they are.

With this in mind there are serious misgivings about how the EIO will be used as pointed out in thinkpolitics.co.uk. Here Jerry Hayes points out that it “ … hasn’t been properly thought through. When the distinguished organisation of jurists, JUSTICE, reports that the EIO, “has inadequate consideration of the rights of the suspect in an effort to improve efficiency”, alarm bells should be ringing at Number 10”. He also says that “ … where it  offends against everything we hold sacred, is that no judicial authority is needed to verify whether there are reasonable grounds for an offence to have been committed.”

This does not mean the concept is flawed, just that the operating rules need some redrafting.

JUSTICE has argued that EIO requests be operated in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). They say “the UK should opt in to the instrument but in so doing should engage it’s negotiating position to ensure safeguards.” Now isn’t that a far better way than just ignorant Euro-bashing for Euro-bashing’s sake?

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