Safety of public must come first

UKIP and anti-EU Tories are risking making Britain a safe haven for foreign criminals and an easy target for illegal immigrants.

Why? Because they want to pull Britain out of key EU measures that our own police and border force say are essential for rapidly deporting foreign criminals and for cracking down on organised criminal gangs smuggling people to the UK.

Measures like the European Arrest Warrant, which British police use to rapidly deport around 1,000 foreign criminals from our streets every year. Or the EU police agency, Europol, which only recently broke up a criminal network smuggling over 4,000 illegal immigrants a year into the UK.

Of all the challenges we face as a country, they don’t get much more cross-border in nature than illegal immigration. Our police need access to the very best international crime-fighting tools available to dismantle the criminal gangs behind illegal immigration, trafficking and international crime.

If UKIP and anti-EU Tories get their way, British police and border staff will be alone in Europe in being excluded from these 21st century policing tools. Liberal Democrats are fighting this dangerous ideological agenda because our national security and the safety of the British public must come first.

We cannot expect our law enforcement officers to combat international crime and illegal immigration with one hand tied behind their back. The British police say they want and need fast, effective European police co-operation. We must make sure that is exactly what they get.

GILES GOODALL

Liberal Democrat European Parliamentary candidate for South East England, Clays Hill, Bramber