No-deal Brexit could lead to ‘real possibility’ of the military on the streets, leaked police document says

Contingency plans are being drawn up by police chiefs if there is chaos amid shortages of food and medicine

Sunday 09 September 2018 09:06 BST
What does a no-deal Brexit mean?

A no-deal Brexit could lead to the “real possibility” of police calling on the military to help with civil disorder, a leaked document claims.

Contingency plans are being drawn up by police chiefs if there is chaos on the streets due to shortages of goods, food and medicine,

The document prepared by the National Police Co-ordination Centre (NPoCC) warns of traffic queues at ports with “unprecedented and overwhelming” disruption to the road network.

Concerns around medical supplies could “feed civil disorder”, while a rise in the price of goods could also lead to “widespread protest”, the document obtained by the Sunday Times said.

The potential for a restricted supply of goods raised concerns of “widespread protest which could then escalate into disorder”.

It could also trigger a rise in non-Brexit-related acquisitive crime such as theft, officers fear.

The document, set to be considered by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) later this month, also sets out concerns of increased data costs, loss of warrant cards and queues at ports and docks around the country.

Shadow police minister Louise Haigh lashed out at the Government’s handling of the situation.

“This is the nightmare scenario long feared; according to the UK’s most senior police officers a no-deal Brexit could leave Britain on the brink,” she said. “There is not a corner of this country that will not suffer if the govt ploughs ahead with no deal,” she added in a tweet.

The Home Office said it would not comment on leaked documents.

A spokesman said: “We do not want or expect a no-deal scenario and are increasingly confident that we will secure a deal with the EU.

“However, it is the duty of any responsible government to prepare for every eventuality, including the unlikely scenario that we reach March 2019 without agreeing a deal.

“With that in mind, we are working closely with operational partners – including the police – on contingency planning so we can ensure the safety and security of our citizens in all scenarios.”

NPCC lead for operations Chief Constable Charlie Hall told the Sunday Times: “The police are planning for all scenarios that may require a police response in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“At this stage, we have no intelligence to suggest there will be an increase in crime or disorder. However, we remain vigilant and will continue to assess any threats and develop plans accordingly.”

Additional reporting by PA

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