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A New Twist on a No-Deal Brexit: Handcuffing Police

A no-deal Brexit—the scenario in which the United Kingdom exits the European Union without a negotiated deal—has been a major worry for many. The legal uncertainty could tie up trade and roil markets and the British government has been publishing guidelines for businesses on a variety of issues, including product labeling and financial services.

Now the region can add another impact. Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Cressida Dick told the BBC that a no-deal Brexit would have a major negative impact on policing.

Law enforcement has increasingly come to depend on data. International databases of criminal records, vehicle registrations, DNA, fingerprints, and wanted alerts are just some of the examples of information exchanged among agencies.

Policing has come to regularly include access to such data. Officers in police cars, for example, typically have computers that can give them the latest available information. But only if they have access.

EU-wide databases might no longer be available to U.K. authorities. Furthermore, extradition across European borders would become far more complicated than has been the case.

“We will have to replace some of the things we currently use in terms of access to databases, the way in which we can quickly arrest and extradite people, these kinds of things, we’ll have to replace as effectively as we can,” Dick said in a BBC Radio 4 interview. “That will be more costly, undoubtedly, slower, undoubtedly and, potentially, yes, put the public at risk.”