Conservatives must choose between dislike of Europe and keeping people safe

Cooperating with Europe on police and justice matters is vital for keeping us safe. European measures are used by our local police and prosecutors. They help catch criminals who flee overseas, tackle international crime and kick out foreign criminals from the UK.

These measures have been hugely successful in breaking up paedophile rings, preventing terrorism and bringing criminals who flee across borders to swift justice.

For instance, greater cooperation enables English and Spanish authorities to launch ‘Operation Captura.’ As a result, many of the most wanted Brits were arrested in Spain and bought back here for trial.

In another case, James Hurley – a convicted killer of a policeman in London who escaped custody in 1994 – was brought to justice. He was arrested in 2007 in The Netherlands for drug offences and extradited back to the UK in 2011 to stand trial for murder.

It is great that Europe is working together on this and not letting crimes go unpunished. I was therefore shocked to hear that 102 Conservative MPs want the Government to withdraw from all European policing and justice measures.

13 former UK police chiefs recently wrote to the Prime Minister warning that pulling out of many of the measures would put public safety at risk. In short, the police say the measures are essential for our national security, public safety and leadership in fighting crime and terrorism.

So, these Conservatives must now choose what is more important: their dislike of all things European or keeping people in London and the UK safe.

Some Conservatives seem so blinded by an ideological hatred for European cooperation that they would sacrifice the safety of the British public and the rights of victims for it. We must put policing before politics. When crime crosses borders, justice must too.