BRINGING criminals such as murderers and sex offenders back to Scotland from the EU to face justice is likely to be a "slower and more bureaucratic" process after Brexit, senior police officers have warned. 

Police Scotland said it has dealt with 70 incoming and outgoing European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) in the last year alone. 

Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Campbell of the specialist crime division said it is a "really significant" tool. 

He said there are contingency plans to replace it following the end of the transition period, including through a bespoke extradition process.

But he added: "We are likely to see longer, slower, more bureaucratic extradition processes as we enter 2021."

DCS Campbell made the comments while giving evidence to Holyrood's Justice Sub-Committee on Policing. 

He said: "For the last 12 months, we've had 70 incoming and outgoing European Arrest Warrants, bringing individuals from the EU back into Scotland to face justice and also returning some individuals who are resident in Scotland back into the EU. 

"So that's really significant."

Giving an example, he said an individual arrested for murder on October 3 in southern Spain is set to be returned to Scotland on November 11.

DCS Campbell said: "So within four or five weeks, we have an individual arrested in southern Spain and thereafter we can bring him back to face justice in Scotland."

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said EAWs are a "fast and efficient" process. 

He said reverting to the 1957 European Convention on Extradition is "certainly not going to be as fast and efficient."

DCC Kerr told MSPs that more than 800 people have been subject to trial in Scotland after being arrested and brought back to the country using a EAW since 2011.