Hundreds of Scottish police officers on standby for Brexit

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Police in Scotland will be ready to respond to any emergencies during an “unprecedented set of circumstances” following Brexit, a senior officer has said.

Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Steve Johnson, Police Scotland’s EU Exit Tactical Commander, said that the force would be prepared to handle a range of potential challenges presented within the coming months.

It included having 360 officers on standby in the event of any incidents arising.

ACC Johnson, who met with Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf,  said that preparations would extend to any delays at ports, as well as possible political protests.

“Our number one priority is protecting the people of Scotland and we have been preparing for the operational impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union for many months now,” he said.

Humza Yousaf statement
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf described the decision as ‘prudent and sensible’ (Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament)

“Part of our planning has ensured that we have sufficient officer availability during critical periods.

“The Brexit Coordination Centre allows us to work closely with all relevant multi-agency partners to address any civil contingency matters which may arise.

“Working with these partners, we are ready to respond to emergencies to ensure the safety of the public during an unprecedented set of circumstances which will challenge policing in the months ahead.”

Mr Yousaf said: “The Scottish Government is intensifying its preparations for all EU exit possibilities in order to protect Scotland’s economy, businesses and workers.

“While we are doing everything we can to prepare, we will not be able to mitigate all of the impacts of a ‘no-deal’ exit on Scotland.

“The Chief Constable has been clear that Police Scotland will be ready to respond to any civil contingency issues arising from EU exit, including the policing of the country’s ports and borders, and possible protests and civil unrest.

“The Brexit Coordination Centre will be central to managing those priorities and the wider resilience response across local authorities, emergency services and other public sector bodies – ensuring Scotland stands ready to deal with the implications of leaving the EU.

“Decisions around officer deployment and contingency planning are of course operational decisions for the Chief Constable.

“I welcome his decision to put 360 officers on standby from today for EU exit-related incidents as a prudent, sensible approach to contingency planning to ensure Police Scotland remains well-placed to keep people safe.”

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