London: Police from the European Union (EU) states will be able to arrest Britons, place them under surveillance, bug phones and monitor bank accounts in this country, if politicians give their approval later this week, a media report said Monday.
The Daily Mail reported that the ministers are ready to hand the sweeping powers to EU states so that they can spy on British citizens. They will be able to demand fingerprints, DNA or blood samples.
Anyone who refuses to comply with a formal request for co-operation by a foreign force is likely to be arrested by British police.
The move will spark a damaging row with backbench Conservative MPs opposed to giving such draconian powers to Brussels. The Tories were opposed to the directive, saying it showed a "relish for surveillance and disdain for civil liberties".
But ministers have made a dramatic U-turn since joining the pro-EU Liberal Democrats in government.
The new powers are known as the European Investigation Order (EIO), which is intended as a partner to the highly controversial European Arrest Warrant (EAW).
One of the major concerns about the EAW, to which Britain is signatory, is that it has been used to investigate the most minor misdemeanours such as the theft of a dessert in a Polish restaurant.
The countries demanding the new powers include ex-Eastern Bloc states of Bulgaria, Estonia and Slovenia, as well as Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg and Austria.
Other nations, including Denmark, are believed to be ready to say no.