Britain could be more vulnerable to terrorism and organised crime after Brexit if the Government fails to secure access to Europol’s databases, the agency’s director has warned.
Rob Wainwright told Sky News that security threats in Europe had grown over the last year and said it was crucial that police in different nations work together to tackle terrorism and crime.
He said: “I have seen how threats of terrorism and organised crime have become more global and the need for greater international police cooperation is absolutely essential to keep us safe.
“Mechanisms such as Europol provide an important part of the way in which the law enforcement community in Britain and other countries around Europe can discharge those responsibilities.”
Mr Wainwright said the British Government needed to push hard with the EU during Brexit negotiations to maintain a strong relationship with Europol.
Brexit will automatically mean the UK stops being a full member of the agency. However, Mr Wainwright said cooperation could still be possible.
“It is important for Britain to get this right,” he said.
“It is about the security of the country. Not just the security of Britain, but of Europe.
“It is a big issue and we need to get the details right of what those arrangements could be.”
Mr Wainwright will not take part in the negotiations but is advising ministers and has stressed the importance of involvement in areas such as the European Arrest Warrant.
He also said the future of Ireland and its border would be “one of the most difficult issues to get right” during negotiations.