Brexit policing unit stood down by Police Scotland chiefs

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr

Brexit policing unit stood down by Police Scotland chiefs

Police Scotland’s dedicated Brexit unit has been stood down after racking up a bill of £2.46m in just eight weeks.

The Brexit Coordination Centre, which was based at the force’s Bilston Glen Area Control Room in Midlothian, was set up to deal with incidents linked to the UK leaving the EU.

But after an agreement was made to extend Article 50 until October 31, policing chiefs have decided to temporarily disband the unit with the 360 officers returning to their divisions.

The National Reserve officially stood down on May 13 but a report submitted to the Scottish Police Authority showed the unit had been kept busy during the eight week period.

Officers were present at 26 football matches including two Old Firm games and two Edinburgh derby fixtures.

A three-day operation saw officers police Extinction Rebellion protests in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Six Orange Walks were also covered by officers from the unit as well as an Scottish Defence League March, a Palestinian Alliance procession and a March for Europe event.

The report added that officers from the National Reserve also helped cover the Scottish Conservative Party Conference in Aberdeen at the beginning of May.

High risk missing persons enquiries, high court trial assistance and assistance with murder enquiries was also carried out by staff from the unit.

Despite the hub being stood down, a residual planning team with an associated intelligence cell has remained in place to support ongoing planning relating to policing around Brexit.

The report added that the EU Exit related costs of the force’s contingency arrangements up until May 13 stood at £2.46m.

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr previously revealed that there was no budget for these costs as the force is already set to overspend by up to £42m this year.

Calls were made by the Scottish Government for Westminster to pay for the additional policing costs.

But the UK Government said it had already given Holyrood £100m for Brexit related costs.

The latest development will be discussed at a board meeting of the Scottish Police Authority on Wednesday in Edinburgh.

 

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