LONDON, U.K. - Rob Wainwright, the director of the European law enforcement agency, has asked the U.K. government to focus on a stronger future with Europol while it negotiated its exit from the European Union.
Wainwright felt the U.K will be more vulnerable to terrorism and organized crime without access to Europol's intelligence.
Wainwright told Sky News, “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."
He added, "It is important for Britain to get this right. 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."
Lord Carlile, a former independent reviewer of terrorism, shared Wainwright's view, saying a decline in cooperation between the European Union and the U.K. following Brexit would actually put the bloc at greater risk.
“The British police and the British intelligence services provide a disproportionally high amount of the information which helps European intelligence agencies and police to prevent and detect terrorism. They need us more than we need them,” he noted.
The Europol director, meanwhile, also called on the United Kingdom to maintain its involvement in procedures such as the European Arrest Warrant.
He said, “I would put the EAW as one of the most important things any country in Europe should continue to rely on in the future.”
"We are dealing with thousands of cases every year between these countries of very serious criminals, and even terrorists, that are identified and extradited under the terms of the warrant.”
Theresa May decided to “opt-in” to Europol until the Brexit process is completed, which means the country will retain access to Europol’s intelligence after revised regulations this year until the Brexit deal comes through.
Once Brexit is officially completed, the United Kingdom stops becoming a member of the agency.