LEAVING the European Union would be “a risk to the safety” to Britain, Labour’s shadow immigration minister has claimed.
Sir Keir Starmer warned against quitting the bloc by saying the UK relied “very heavily” on EU criminal justice systems to fight terrorism.
The MP said: “There’s the potential for a real reduction in our capacity to deal with serious and organised crime and terrorism.
“Anybody who’s been involved in this on a practical, operational level recognises the risks here.”
Sir Keir, the former head of the Crown Prosecution Service, said crimes such as trafficking, paedophilia and sexual exploitation “go all across the borders into Europe”.
He added: “To give you a practical example, if you have a number of [criminals] operating in different jurisdictions, you absolutely have to arrest them on the same day at precisely the same time.
“It requires a huge amount of co-ordination. If you arrest one person in Paris, 10 minutes before you intend to arrest someone in London on the same allegation, the person in London will be gone by the time you get there.”
Alan Johnson, the former Labour home secretary, recently made a similar argument to back Britain’s membership of the EU.
Speaking just weeks after the Paris terror attacks, he said the UK’s security was “inextricably linked to staying” in the 28-member bloc.
He added: “The lesson from Paris is clear: to tackle terrorism we must stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies in Europe.”
Sir Keir also claimed the Government had shirked its “moral responsibility” to help refugees in Europe.
David Cameron last year promised to take 20,000 refugees from camps in and near Syria in a bid to tackle the humanitarian crisis.
But the Labour politician told the Independent: “Anybody with responsibility for refugees or immigration should take the time to visit the camps in Calais and Dunkirk.”