You all know how I feel about Brexit, so we shall draw a discreet veil over the months of wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments that have befallen Grossey Mansions. However, as I had feared, we are now starting to hear about the possible outcomes for law enforcement – and it’s all rather frightening.
In an article subtitled “Gangsters’ paradise” (well, that’s not good to start with, is it), the Economist is of the view that “for organised criminals, Brexit is perhaps the most promising rearrangement of the European scene since the fall of communism”. Oh dear. The combination of an open border outside the customs union (as touted by the UK government as the answer to a maiden’s prayer) will lead, it is suggested, to “an explosion of smuggling”. Closer to home, in AML terms, is the fact (and it is a fact) that every other legislative development will have to bow before the altar of Brexit, resulting in delays to updates and – inevitably – the creation of loopholes and the return of our old friend “regulatory arbitrage”. In short, criminals will make laundering hay while the sun shines. And while they’re haymaking, the hands of law enforcement will be tied by our expulsion from all sorts of handy arrangements such as the Schengen database of passport details, and the European Arrest Warrant.
In a press release put out by the National Crime Agency on 17 February 2018, Director General Lynne Owens said that “we are confident that these requirements are being taken into account by the Prime Minister and officials responsible for negotiating Brexit”. Well, I’m glad someone is, because I’m certainly not.