The EU’s European Arrest Warrant (EAW) allows member states to request the extradition of criminals from other EU countries.  Before the EAW was introduced extradition used to take an average of one year, but now that has been cut to an average of 48 days.

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Figures for 2009 show that 15,827 European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) were issued in total and of those 4,431 were executed. The breakdown, given in a European Commission report, shows that Poland issued the most EAWs – 4,844. Of those, fewer than half were executed – 1,367. Germany was second for the number of EAWs issued – 2,433, then Romania with 1,900. The figures for the UK were: 220 issued, 80 carried out.

When terrorist suspects attempted to flee the UK to Italy and Spain following the failed bombings on 21 July 2005, it was through the use of a European Arrest Warrant that we managed to secure and then return the suspects to face justice in the UK.