The following has been sent to local media on Friday 13 May 2016
Police and security cooperation across the EU will be strengthened after MEPs voted in favour of an expanded role for Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency.
Countries across the EU will be able to respond more quickly to developing threats through new platforms for enhanced operational cooperation and information exchange between national police forces. Europol will be better equipped to deal with transnational terrorist threats thanks to enhanced capabilities for the new ‘Internet Referral Unit’; this has proven particularly effective in working with EU states to help take down terrorist propaganda and recruitment material.
These new rules also increase the oversight powers for national parliaments over Europol, whilst also enhancing data protection supervision.
Following the vote Richard Ashworth, Conservative MEP for South East England, said: “Terrorism and organised crime doesn’t stop at borders so why should the way we tackle it? Our continued membership of the EU ensures that British police and intelligence agencies are best equipped to protect us. Cooperation and intelligence sharing with our neighbours through Europol, an EU agency, safeguards Britain and is firmly in our national interest.”