Nearly 1,000 UK police set for deployment in Northern Ireland in event of no-deal Brexit
Potential reinforcements are deemed necessary to deal with the possibility of disorder in the event of a hard border being restored in Ireland
Up to 1,000 police officers from England and Scotland are set to begin training for deployment in Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit later this year.
According to a report in The Guardian, training for the selected police officers is set to begin later this month after senior figures in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) requested reinforcements to help deal with any disorder that might arise in the event of a hard border being restored.
While the Irish government and the EU have remained adamant that a hard border would be avoided at all costs, the possibility of it becoming a reality grows stronger by the day as the UK’s exit from the European Union on 29 March draws ever closer.
This week, Taoiseach Varadkar said that the Irish government was “now preparing for no deal with the same level of seriousness” as the withdrawal agreement proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May, an agreement that May pulled from going to a vote in the House of Commons when she learned that it was likely to be met with devastating defeat.
Last month, meanwhile, the Irish government published details of contingency plans that have been put in place for a no deal Brexit.
The report in the Guardian reveals that the PSNI request for reinforcements was made under mutual aid arrangements, in place to enable local police forces to assist each other in times of heightened demands.
The number of reinforcements requested by the PSNI is approximately double the number of officers requested in recent years to help deal with tensions that arise during marching season in Northern Ireland.
Police officers selected for training will be pulled from their regular duties as some of the equipment and tactics used in Northern Ireland vary from those used elsewhere in the UK.
News of the potential deployment of police officers in Northern Ireland comes on the back of reports that 3,500 troops will be on standby to help deal with any disruptions in the event of a no-deal in the UK later this year.