Scotland

Police Scotland to reactivate Brexit plan

police scotland officers Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption About 300 officers will be put on standby to help deal with any disruption

Police Scotland is to reactivate its Brexit contingency plans more than two months before the UK is due to leave the EU.

Some 300 officers had been due to be on standby from the middle of October to deal with any disruption resulting from the UK's departure on 31 October.

These officers will now be available from early August, the force has said.

It said this was because of it was facing an "unprecedented number of large-scale events".

The force said these included the the Greenpeace campaigners who occupied an oil rig in the Cromarty Firth and recent demonstrations mounted by climate change protesters in Edinburgh.

The allocated officers will respond to any issues that may arise across the country as a result of Brexit, such as protests and disruption at ports.

But while on standby, they will also be used to support other policing operations across the country, including demonstrations and major football matches.

Police Scotland has already informed the Scottish Police Authority of the change in its plans, with officers also being notified about changes to their shifts.

'Protest activity'

The UK had originally been due to leave the EU on 29 March, with Police Scotland activated its original contingency plans from 18 March.

These remained in place after the departure date was extended, but the officers were stood down on 12 May when the new October date was agreed.

Dep Ch Con Will 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, 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."

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf welcomed the "prudent, sensible approach" from the police, and again urged the UK government to rule out a no-deal Brexit.