West Midlands Police officers face managing traffic in Dover after potential no-deal Brexit
Hundreds of frontline police officers could be taken off the streets of the West Midlands and away from tackling knife crime in order to help manage traffic in Dover in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it has been warned.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson issued the stark warning at a police board meeting yesterday, where it was revealed West Midlands Police’s planning for Brexit is STILL being hampered by the government’s uncertainty over what exactly is going to happen.
After an intervention by speaker John Bercow on Monday, which ruled Theresa May’s deal cannot come back to the Commons to be voted on unless it has “significantly changed”, the country was pushed closer to a no-deal scenario – despite parliament voting to rule this very option out earlier this month.
And a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the West Midlands, Mr Jamieson has warned, with local officers facing the prospect of a long trip down south to manage traffic rather than trying to stop the criminals currently causing misery across the region.
He said: "If there is a no deal Brexit my concern is we could see a number of officers from here, in particular road policing officers, taken away to some of the ports – particularly Dover. This would reduce our capacity substantially at a time when we are dealing with some really serious issues like knife crime.
"We do not know what the figure would be but it could well run into the hundreds."
Chief Constable Dave Thompson confirmed he expected some of his officers would have to go on a secondment, almost certainly to ports in the south of England, as part of a mutual aid agreement in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Jamieson's comments have been criticised by Brexiteer and Walsall North MP Eddie Hughes, who described them as “utter nonsense”.
He added: “It feels like he has arrived late to the Project Fear programme.
“Even if there are any problems I would fully expect them to be managed locally. The Police and Crime Commissioner should trust the competence of these other forces to deal with such situations without needing significant help."
However West Midlands Police is suffering in the face of the current political shambles surrounding Brexit. The force is desperate to prepare for possible outcomes – including losing huge swathes of data on outstanding criminals and missing people – but has absolutely no idea what to prepare for.
The force does not know if it will lose access to the European tools it currently uses, such as the EAW and SIS II system, on March 29, or if there will be a transition period or a long extension to Article 50.
The UK is officially scheduled to leave the European Union in nine days.