McArthur: Tory Brexit threatens a breakdown in law and order

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today savaged the Conservative party’s commitment to a hard Brexit, as the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee heard evidence from senior Police Scotland officers that:

  • Police Scotland have “struggled to get access to the more sensitive planning assumptions” from the UK Government. Senior officers have been forced to plead for up to date information in both London and the Hague.  
  • Where Brexit-related civil unrest arises, and ‘mass arrests’ result, the use of ‘redundant capacity’ within Scotland’s custodial estate could be used because of the ongoing over population of the prison estate.
  • The loss of the European Arrest Warrant will be “significant”, and will mean timelines for arrests extend to months, as opposed to days. Overall, a no-deal Brexit will result in a “slower, more bureaucratic, less productive service”.
  • Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Campbell, of the Specialist Crime Division said that “The model we are moving towards in a no deal scenario will significantly impact our ability to keep communities in Scotland safe.”
  • The language used by politicians is “making it more difficult to police the environment”

Commenting on the revelations, Mr McArthur said:

“There is no doubt that Brexit will damage our police service’s ability to keep our communities safe.

“The evidence from senior officers today suggests that there is a serious risk of a breakdown in law and order as a result of irresponsible plans for a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Moreover, key information should not be withheld from senior officers who need it to carry out their functions – that is not normal.

“From locking people up in disused custody facilities, to being denied access to valuable international crime fighting tools, these are the challenges that usually face a pariah state, not British policing.

“Boris Johnson’s bus didn’t say “more criminals go free” on the side of it. It’s time to change course and ditch Brexit to protect our communities.”

On intemperate language in politics, Mr McArthur added:

“All politicians must take care in the language they use, but those at the top have a particular responsibility. The Prime Minister cannot escape the fact that racists, cranks and thugs will regurgitate his language to abuse anyone who doesn’t toe the line. This is harming our politics and he should quit stoking the flames.”

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