QUESTION: how many times did UK police use the EU-wide anti-terrorism and crime database – the Schengen Information System II - in 2017?

Answer: according to Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin, of the Metropolitan Police, 539 million times. Yes, you read that right: 539 million.

“Crime by its very nature is global, there aren’t really any borders so our ability to interact with the tools, processes and relationships we have now is critical,” Mr Martin told the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee last week.

If the UK were excluded from the European Arrest Warrant system, which the UK uses to extradite up to 10,000 foreign offenders every year, we would have to rely on a 1957 European Convention causing lengthy delays for court orders to be obtained.

The public isn’t to blame for not knowing this.

The failure to explain how the EU works or how it benefits us all rests with successive governments and politicians who for decades have lazily and arrogantly assumed the public don’t need or deserve to know.

As a city councillor, I witnessed this laziness many times.

Politicians have done us a grave disservice, leaving us all vulnerable to manipulation and misinformation.

Christian Vassie,

Blake Court,

Wheldrake, York