Why do we need a new Extradition Bill?

There is a huge backlog of action that needs to happen on the climate emergency, so why are we discussing new legislation on extradition? What is the size of the problem that we are seeking to resolve, and how serious is the threat?

The Home Office analysis of this bill, explains that “The policy is expected to result in 6 individuals entering the CJS more quickly than would otherwise have been the case.”

Is the Home Office really saying that only six people a year will be arrested under the powers in this Bill? And that it is “more quickly” rather than “six people who would have otherwise escaped”? If so, then is the size of the problem really so substantial that this Bill is necessary or even a worthwhile use of precious legislative time? 

My next question to the Minister in today’s debate on the bill is how serious is the threat which this Bill purports to deal with. Can the Minister give examples of the types of threats that offenders have posed under the current system which will be fixed by this power to arrest six individuals? 

The threat must be real and significant if we are expected to remove the judicial process of granting an arrest warrant. Yet, at the same time, the government must not perceive the threat to be too great because they have chosen to limit this arrest power to extraditions to only a small handful of countries. If a dangerous criminal is wanted in America or Australia, then they will be arrested without a warrant. But if the same dangerous criminal could, according to the government, escape as long as they are wanted in countries that we don’t consider as trustworthy. If the risk was as big as the government claims, then this power would be applied to a much, much larger list of countries. 

I say that this Bill is posing an ineffective solution to an imagined problem. There is no justification for removing the arrest warrant process, and if there was then it should be applied to a much larger list of countries. 

A Bill to arrest six people slightly faster just seems ridiculous. I’d go as far as suggesting that the government drops the Bill altogether and doesn’t waste any more legislative time by bringing it back for any further stages.