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Extradition Requests from Poland


Door thief, piglet rustler, pudding snatcher: British courts despair at extradition requests

Warrants for 'trivial' cases double in a year

British police say Poland is responsible for a large number of trivial extradition requests.

The number of extradition cases being dealt with in the UK courts has reached record levels, fuelled by a number of "trivial" requests from Europe that have exasperated the police and clogged up the system, the Guardian has learned.

Up to 1,000 extradition cases are expected to have been dealt with by the end of the year, more than double the number last year, and four times the number in 2006 according to figures from the City of Westminster magistrates court, which handles all extradition hearings.

The increase is largely down to the volume of European arrest warrants (EAWs), many of them issued by Poland.

EAWs, requiring the arrest and extradition of suspects from one EU country to another, are being used by Poland for a "large volume of trivial extradition requests", according to Detective Sergeant Gary Flood of Scotland Yard's extradition unit.

He estimated that 40% of all extradition cases dealt with by the Metropolitan police originated in Poland, adding that many of the offences were so minor they would lead to either a caution or no investigation at all in England and Wales.

In one case, according to Flood, a carpenter who fitted wardrobe doors and then removed them when the client refused to pay him, was subject to an extradition request by Poland so that they could try him for theft. In another case, the Polish authorities requested the extradition of a suspect for theft of a dessert. "The European arrest warrant contained a list of the ingredients," Flood said.

Although Poland is not the only culprit - a Lithuanian was extradited last year on a charge of "piglet-rustling" - it has made the most requests by far.

According to Flood the volume of cases from Poland has forced the Metropolitan police to start chartering special planes to return suspects to Poland. "We now arrange for a Polish military flight every three weeks," he said.

The number of requests from Poland and other eastern European countries is due to the absence of a filtering process to weed out cases that are not worth prosecuting.

The Crown Prosection Service (CPS), which manages prosecutions in England and Wales, operates a "threshold test" whereby cases are only pursued where it is "in the public interest".

"The Polish system requires a trial for every criminal allegation, no matter how trivial," said District Judge Nicholas Evans, one of only five extradition judges in England and Wales.

Singling out Poland as a source of extradition requests, he said that the increase in cases was placing increasing strain on the system and "a disproportionate amount of time is expended in cases which do not merit the effort". Poland has already made 224 extradition requests this year, with Polish interpreters required and paid for by the court on 311 occasions.

The EU has admitted in the past that the arrest warrants are being used "disproportionately" to the seriousness of offences. But the continuing rise in cases comes at a time when the courts, prosecution service and police are all under severe pressure because of a shortfall in resources ..............


Re: Extradition Requests from Poland

"The Polish system requires a trial for every criminal allegation, no matter how trivial,"


The police in Poland generally try to avoid the prosecution route and MANY, MANY Polish criminals (living in Poland) go unpunished.

One case in point: my father-in-law and his friend (a retired policeman) recently parked a car in the middle of the forest and went off to do a nearby hunting tower to look for something to shoot. When after several hours they returned the car had been almost completely wrecked (windows smashed; tyres slashed; radio, and battery stolen). His friend called the police and they arrived very quickly (remember he is an ex-policeman!). Anyway, to cut a long story short they tracked down the culprits (two local men in their late 20s) but instead of being prosecuted were given a car belonging to one of the criminals parents in exchange for the damage caused.

Nothing has been officially recorded.

Re: Extradition Requests from Poland

Muggings are classified as crimes of low social importance