Brexit ‘could halt’ criminal arrests

Zdenko Turtak was brought back to the UK via the European Arrest Warrant.
Zdenko Turtak was brought back to the UK via the European Arrest Warrant.

MORE THAN 500 suspected criminals in Yorkshire have been deported - in the last five years under an arrest warrant scheme which campaigners say would be put at risk by a British exit from the European Union.

Between 2010 and 2015, the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was used 564 times to help extradite mostly foreign criminals who were caught by one of the region’s police forces.

And during the same period, 70 suspects were extradited back to the region from other countries in the European Union to face trial, according to official statistics.

This includes Zdenko Turtak, jailed last year for the brutal rape of a woman in Beeston who was returned to the UK from Slovakia after West Yorkshire Police applied for an EAW.

Figures including the former Association of Chief Police Officers president Hugh Orde say a vote to leave in next month’s EU membership referendum could put public safety at risk by allowing dangerous criminals to escape justice.

The number of extraditions from Yorkshire to Europe has been on the rise since 2010, though there were fewer suspected criminals deported in the other direction last year than in 2011 and 2012.Mr Orde, the former head of the body representing senior police officers, said: “European policing measures mean the long arm of the law now extends right across the continent. “The EAW also means we can easily deport dangerous criminals back to other countries, keeping our citizens safe. Pulling out of the EU would undermine all this cooperation.”

The EAW, introduced in 2004 as a response to the 9/11 attacks in the US, is a mechanism allowing people wanted in relation to significant crimes to be extradited between EU member states.

It requires one member state to arrest and transfer a criminal suspect or sentenced person to another state.

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