This week I am attending the European Police Chiefs’ Convention at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague. As we approach October 31 and the UK’s potential exit from the EU, the Chiefs’ Convention has an additional significance this year.

I have spoken many times of the potential consequences of Brexit during the last year and about what Scottish policing is doing to prepare for the various scenarios we may face. 

Having a single national service has been a great advantage during this time. It provides flexibility and equality of support, and allows for clear planning structures to ensure the citizens of Scotland are effectively protected and policed.

We can better support the critical role officers play in our communities at times of additional demand. 

I have instructed officers engaged in important, but supporting, roles to be deployed to local policing divisions in response to requirements associated with Brexit. The strength of Scottish policing may also be underlined in the event of mutual aid requests from other jurisdictions – a UK wide arrangement for sharing resources from which we have benefited in the past, and will do so again in the future. 

I am meeting police chiefs from across Europe as part of a UK delegation with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick and the Director General of the National Crime Agency Lynne Owens. 

It is vital that Scottish policing has its own voice at this event given our separate legal system and body of law. This is an opportunity to build on international relationships required to ensure that, regardless of the implications of Brexit, Scotland as a country will maintain a strong footprint throughout European and international policing and legal co-operation.  

I value the role Europol has in assisting Scottish policing to coordinate investigations into serious and organised cross-border crime and terrorism. It is crucial that we maintain security relationships that enable us to combat shared threats to our citizens.

There is the potential loss of some of our powers that we would normally use to engage with other countries, such as European Arrest Warrants. 

If we do lose some of the tools we currently use, we will require to utilise other existing legislation. It will, however, be more bureaucratic, lack uniformity across Europe and will be far more time consuming.

With this in mind, we have been increasing the number of officers in our International Bureau to manage international enquiries.

Officers are working with representatives from the International Crime Coordination Centre, the National Crime Agency and the Police Service of Northern Ireland to visit a range of EU and non-EU countries to achieve a framework for international liaison after Brexit.

We are also increasing our people in Border Policing Command. These measures will ensure Scottish policing retains the maximum possible capability, while laying strong foundations for whatever the future may bring. 

The Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Government have indicated their support in meeting the additional policing costs associated with Brexit. Police Scotland will continue to work within Scotland, the UK, and internationally to keep our communities safe.

Iain Livingstone is Chief Constable of Police Scotland.