Extra police could be drafted into Kent to tackle no-deal Brexit traffic

Extra police could be drafted into Kent to tackle no-deal Brexit traffic

The M20 as one side of the motorway to the Port of Dover closes for Operation Brock.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Up to 140 police officers a day could be drafted into Kent to deal with traffic congestion anticipated by the UK exiting the European Union without a deal.

As well as helping to manage the "complex" travel arrangements including the contraflow and reduced speed limits on the M20 under Operation Brock, officers could also tasked with tackling protests and disorder should it arise, Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Peter Ayling said.

The force is thought to be the only one to be handed extra money by the government to police Brexit as Kent is thought most likely to be affected.

The Home Office has given it £4.3 million so far, and more could be handed over in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking at a press briefing in Maidstone on Tuesday, Mr Ayling said: "We have been able to benefit from the mobilisation of additional officers into Kent so in the event we do exit from the EU up to 140 officers a day are likely to be brigaded into Kent from across the UK to help us manage what is a fairly complex traffic management plan."

Mr Ayling, a member of emergency planning group the Kent Resilience Forum and chairman of the committee which is preparing the county's response to Brexit, added: "We saw at the weekend Brexit has a fairly polarising effect on people and whatever side of the debate you're on, it's an emotive issue.

"We're prepared that we can respond to any issues that emerge. So far we've not seen that move towards disorder, but if it were to do so we've got the resources, we've got the capability to be able to respond.

"I think one of the real challenges for us in Kent, it's very difficult to predict exactly what it is we will have to deal with. 

"I'm pretty confident we are not going to see opportunities for rises in crime."

Operation Brock was introduced on Monday for the foreseeable future but is being described as a temporary solution.

John Kerner, Highways England project director, dismissed criticism the plan was inflexible and outdated, saying the contraflow was working "as designed".

He said Brock was "the right intervention at the right time" and a "prudent measure" which could last up to six months in its current form.

Highways England was handed £35 million to bring in the plans as well as a back-up which would see lorries queue on the M26.


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