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Humza Yousaf welcomes Police Scotland Brexit contingency plans

Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images

Humza Yousaf welcomes Police Scotland Brexit contingency plans

Justice Minister Humza Yousaf has welcomed a decision to put around 300 police officers on standby to deal with any Brexit-related issues on 31 October.

Amid growing concern about the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, Police Scotland announced today that its “Brexit contingency plans” have been reactivated.

The extra officers were first made available for the original deadline in March, before the Article 50 extension was granted.

The decision has come as Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt travel to Scotland to take part in a leadership hustings in Perth this evening. Both candidates for Prime Minister have said that they would be willing to allow a no-deal Brexit to occur.

Yousaf said: “I welcome this prudent, sensible approach to contingency planning to ensure Police Scotland remains best-placed to keep people safe.

“The Scottish Government is carefully considering the implications of leaving the EU and intensive preparation is underway, including our work with the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland.”

Police Scotland’s Deputy Chief Constable, Will Kerr, wrote to the Scottish Police Authority this morning with an update on policing arrangements.

The extra officers are to be brought in from late August in case of protests or any disruption at ports around the October deadline. The officers could also be used for other, non-Brexit related events.

Kerr said: “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”.

He gave the recent environmental protests organised by groups like Extinction Rebellion and the Greenpeace invasion of an oil platform in the Cromarty Firth as examples.

“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”, he said.

Yousaf said that there is a risk that a no-deal Brexit could have an unpredictable impact across wider-society and called on the UK Government to compensate the Scottish Government for the potential costs.

He said: “The reality is the UK is not, and cannot be, ready for a ‘no deal’ EU exit on 31 October – such an outcome would inevitably cause very significant disruption to the lives of ordinary citizens and businesses, as well as long-term harm to our economy.

“We will continue to press the UK Government to ensure this is avoided by taking ‘no deal’ off the table, while working on preparing for all eventualities.

“The Scottish Government has also been clear that any costs related to EU exit should not have a detrimental impact on Scotland’s public finances and should be met by the UK Government in full.”

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