EU membership is vital for our security

iStock_000006127667XSmallThis week, Labour MEPs voted to strengthen Europol, the EU wide law enforcement agency. The new rules will enhance the investigatory powers of Europol, making it easier to set up specialised units to react to emerging threats, while also increasing transparency and data protection standards.

Europol has the structures in place to fight crime and terrorism, and a great track record. At the beginning of this month, Europol supported Portuguese Police in breaking up a Russian organised crime group, and last month, the FBI and Europol signed a co-operation agreement that will see the agencies working together to identify foreign terrorist fighters.

Not only does Europol have an impressive record, it also has British talent at the top with Director Rob Wainwright, a former Police and Intelligence Officer from the UK.

Wainwright has made clear the how important EU co-operation is in fighting crime and terrorism, stating that a Brexit would make it harder to keep the UK safe.

Meanwhile, the Leave campaign think they know better. Boris Johnson, hardly a renowned expert on crime and terrorism, reckons that we’d be better going it alone.

This is the same Boris who has been driving around the UK in a German bus on his ‘Leave EU’ tour this week – it took a matter of hours for someone to work out that the same bus would cost thousands more with the weak pound and more expensive fuel that would follow a Brexit vote…

I know who I’ll be listening to!

We’ve seen certain members of the Leave campaign become increasingly hostile to anyone who questions them, but this referendum could be the most important vote in our lifetimes, and people deserve to hear the facts.

So far, the Director of Europol, 13 former US secretaries of state and defence, five former NATO Secretaries-General and British military leaders – including three former Chiefs of the Defence Staff – have warned that to leave the EU would be to gamble with our security

When qualified and experienced intelligence and military experts are talking about how important the EU is for our security, we should be paying attention.

Aside from co-operation through Europol, thousands of criminals, including terrorists, have been arrested under another EU initiative – the European Arrest Warrant. The arrest warrant has made it quicker and easier to bring criminals to justice, an important tool in our fight against crime in Europe.

Our EU membership is fundamentally linked to our security, and this is just one of the reasons Labour will be campaigning to Remain in the EU on the 23rd June.

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