Criminals will benefit from changes to Scotland’s security arrangements caused by Brexit, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has said.
Following the end of the transition period on December 31, access to some databases giving real time updates on wanted or missing persons was lost, along with the European arrest warrant process.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Mr Yousaf said the justice system is “sub-optimal” as a result of Brexit, and criminals will benefit.
He said: “The impact will be significant. Police Scotland and the Crown Office now have to use slower and, frankly, less effective tools.”
EU countries can now also refuse to extradite their citizens to Scotland, meaning there could be delays in the justice system, Mr Yousaf added.
“The only ones, very frankly, who will benefit from this loss of capability is unfortunately those who commit crime,” the minister said.
When asked by fellow SNP MSP Shona Robison if he believes the new arrangements to be “sub-optimal”, the Justice Secretary said he does, and added: “It does mean that it will take longer to possibly extradite somebody, it does mean that we have absolute loss to the CIS2 database, accessed millions of times by Police Scotland a year, which alerts Police Scotland to missing or wanted people.
“The only way in order to rectify that, of course, is for Scotland to take its EU membership up as an independent nation.
“Not just due to the important economic and social benefits, but of course it will afford us greater security co-operation with the rest of the EU.”