Police Scotland’s Brexit contingency plans re-activated

Published 05 July 2019

Police Scotland has today updated the Board of the Scottish Police Authority on the reactivation of its Brexit contingency plans.

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr has written to the Authority to tell it that around 300 officers will be available from early August to respond to any issues that may arise across the country, such as protests and disruption at ports. Other officers will work in a control room at Bilston Glen in Midlothian.

While on standby, the officers will also be used to support other policing operations across the country during what is expected to be a busy summer period.

DCC Kerr said: “We put our original plans in place from 18 March but we then stood officers down on 12 May following the extension of Article 50 until 31 October, with a view to reactivation in mid-October.

“While not responding to Brexit-related issues during that time, these officers played a critical role in allowing us to police many significant events, such as major football games and public protests. They were also deployed to local policing duties such as high-risk missing person cases, investigating priority warrants and assisting with the police response to high profile crimes.

“We have now decided on an early reactivation of our Brexit contingency plans because we have been experiencing an unprecedented number of large scale events, some of which are taking place at extremely short notice, for example, recent environmental protest activity in the North Sea and Edinburgh.

“This type of continued activity will have a significant impact on an already demanding summer period and having these officers available will give us an enhanced capacity to respond to greater policing demands. Our principle focus is, and will remain, the safety of the citizens of Scotland.”

Officers will now be notified of changes to their shifts. The officers will be drawn from local and national divisions and from back office functions.

In due course, a multi-agency control centre at Bilston Glen will be used to help co-ordinate the response to issues arising from the impact of Brexit on behalf of Scotland’s three Regional Resilience Partnerships, which include Local Authorities, emergency services and other public sector bodies.

Contingency planning is being done in conjunction with colleagues across UK policing and is based on identifying and responding to the reasonable worst case scenarios that may be faced in the event of a no deal exit.

A copy of the letter is available here.

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