Posted on Dec 19, 2020
With less than two weeks until the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period Britain’s House of Commons’ Brexit select committee has called on the government to ensure there is a robust contingency plan in place in the next fortnight to cope with the fallout as it criticises the lack of an “overall state of readiness” for business and citizens.
“With just seven working days until the end of the transition period, significant concerns remain,” said Hilary Benn (pictured), chair of the cross-party committee.
He further stated that the government “still cannot provide business, traders and citizens with certainty about what will happen in all the areas affected by the negotiations”.
A committee report published on Saturday, and which was backed unanimously, said “At this late stage the government must be ready to implement contingency plans where necessary to mitigate the effects of any disruption. Failure to do so would mean the worst possible start to the new year for many people and businesses who are already experiencing the toughest of times.”
The report adds that decisions have been made “too late”, communication with businesses has been “patchy at best” and police may be forced to use “slower and more cumbersome” systems.
The report highlighted the fact that in the event of a no-deal the UK would lose access to the joint arrest system; to live passenger number records vital in counter-terror operations; the Schengen Information System II database of missing persons and stolen goods; fingerprinting and DNA records in a system known as Prüm; and the European Criminal Records Information System (Ecris), which holds records of criminals across the bloc.
Richard Martin, a deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police and the lead for Brexit and international criminality, told the committee that loss of access to EU databases could be the difference between catching a criminal and losing them.
“There are contingencies in place … but what they are is slightly slower, not as quick, or as effective as the ones that we currently have,” he said.
The full report is available here.
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