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The European Arrest Warrant and Suffolk policing

March 12, 2016 10:01 AM

European Arrest Warrant

The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is a good example of how European Union co-operation and legislation can improve the pursuit of justice in individual member countries. In essence, the EAW makes it quicker and simpler to arrange extradition of people who are wanted for criminal prosecution or detention in one EU country but who are located in another EU country. It is no longer possible for EU countries to refuse to surrender their own citizens on the basis of their nationality if another country has issued a European Arrest Warrant for their return.

The EAW has been responsible for some very high-profile arrests and subsequent returns to countries seeking to bring the criminals concerned to justice. Examples include a failed London bomber caught in Italy, and a German serial killer caught in Spain*. But the EAW can be issued for less extreme offences as well, as long as the maximum penalty for the offence would be a custodial sentence of at least one year, or if the criminal has already been sentenced to four or more months in jail, and as long as the use of the EAW is proportional to the seriousness of the offence and to the costs and other implications of executing it. Suspects apprehended under an EAW are entitled to fundamental rights in their handling, such as the right to legal aid, and the presumption of innocence. And alongside the use of the European Arrest Warrant to help in apprehending criminals, there is now greater sharing of data between EU countries, to assist in law enforcement.**

In the past few weeks, the EAW has resulted in several extradition orders related to crimes committed in Suffolk, for a man being returned from Romania to the UK to face charges of sexual assault and attempted rape***, a man being returned from Ireland to face child porn charges****, and a man being returned from France in relation to a cyber-crime investigation.*****

Helen Korfanty, Liberal Democrat candidate for Suffolk Police & Crime Commissioner, comments on the value of the EAW in cases where crimes have an international aspect: "In one of these recent Suffolk cases, the accused was sent back in seven days of being traced and arrested in his home country. It is particularly helpful that a European arrest warrant can get a suspect back to the country of investigation within days of the warrant being executed."


* http://ec.europa.eu/justice/criminal/recognition-decision/european-arrest-warrant/index_en.htm

** http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/publications/european-arrest-warrant-statistics

*** http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/man_arrested_in_romania_to_face_charge_of_attempted_rape_at_ipswich_crown_court_1_4446434

**** http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/suffolk_pervert_julian_myerscough_who_jumped_bail_before_second_child_porn_conviction_to_be_extradited_1_4433699

***** http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/twenty_charged_in_cyber_fraud_probe_which_includes_suffolk_1million_victim_1_4443234