Police Scotland spend £7m on Brexit contingency planning


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About 300 officers are already on standby to help deal with any disruption

Police Scotland have spent more than £7m on planning for Brexit.

The figure has been released in a Brexit contingency planning report due to be discussed by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) this week.

It also states that civil unrest is one of the biggest potential issues facing policing post-Brexit.

It comes as leaked government documents appear to show that Britain faces shortages of fuel, food and medicine, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr will present an update to an SPA board meeting in Stirling on Wednesday.

The report has revealed that a planning team are preparing the force for any civil unrest and demonstrations.

A separate delivery team is planning to ensure international investigations and intelligence-sharing are maintained post-Brexit.

The number of officers working in the force’s international bureau has been increased and arrangements made to exchange biometric data such as DNA, fingerprints and vehicle registration details with EU member states.

A “force reserve” has been established since 5 August, located in five hubs across Scotland. This group of officers has already been deployed at events including football fixtures, Extinction Rebellion activity and Edinburgh’s summer festivals.

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The “force reserve” has been deployed at events including Extinction Rebellion activity

The report stated: “Brexit is a highly contentious subject and the Brexit contingency planning team are fully aware of the potential civil unrest.

“Brexit intelligence officers continue to monitor social media sites in order that Police Scotland can prepare and respond to any potential protests.”

It comes as The Sunday Times printed leaked government documents warning of food, medicine and fuel shortages in a no-deal scenario.

A No 10 source told the BBC a former minister leaked the dossier to try to influence discussions with EU leaders.

The documents say the cross-government paper on preparations for a no-deal Brexit, codenamed Operation Yellowhammer, reveals the UK could face months of disruption at its ports.

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Police are monitoring potential for civil unrest

It also states that plans to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are unlikely to prove sustainable.

However, the UK government has sought to play down the documents. Energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng dismissed the reports as “scaremongering”.

He said a “lot of people” were playing into “Project Fear” following the leak of documents from the government’s “Operation Yellowhammer”, which detailed the “most likely aftershocks” of the UK crashing out of the EU.

‘Delusion and denial’

However, Michael Gove – the cabinet minister responsible for no-deal planning – insisted Yellowhammer represented a “worst-case scenario”.

However, the SNP’s Stephen Gethins said the documents lay bare the “sheer havoc Scotland and the UK are hurtling towards”.

“The Tory prime minister is in a state of delusion and denial over the impact his extreme Brexit plans will have on essential supplies such as food, medicines and fuel,” he said.

“The worrying reality is that these internal government papers are only setting out the best-case scenario. It is clear that even in the face of disaster this Tory government simply plans to walk over the cliff-edge, dragging Scotland with it.”

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