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Met commissioner: 'We don't know what the Brexit protest scenario may be'


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Preparations for Brexit are underway but no-one is sure what to expect.


MPS Commissioner Cressida Dick. Photo credit: PA

A small handful" of police officers are preparing for a no-deal Brexit, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said.

Cressida Dick said the force had been looking at potential contingencies in a "pretty cold, calm, sober way" and making sure it would be ready for when the UK leaves the European Union.

Leaving without a deal would mean "extra risk", she said, but it was difficult to predict how the departure would affect front-line policing, she said.

Ms Dick said that if the UK left under the Prime Minister's current deal, all the tools available to the police would remain so during the transition period, with a "slight question" remaining on the European Arrest Warrant.

She continued: "Of course if we were to exit the European Union...without any form of deal, then at that moment we would not, unless there's other urgent actions taken, we would not have access to those tools, and equally UK data would not be available to European colleagues in the same way that it is now.

"So that of itself will require us to work quickly with our European counterparts to devise different ways of working within the legal framework ... those will be slower, they will be more bureaucratic and we won't be able to apply them in the automated way to certain types of things.

"By definition that will mean we will have to take more risk with some things, of course."

Ms Dick said she did not think the public would see tangible differences to policing over the next few months, but this could change come March next year.

She added: "It's quite hard to estimate how much extra risk or how much extra investment is required, but we are working closely with the Government to talk through those scenarios and work out what would be the sensible ways to deal with this, that would keep UK citizens reasonably safe and at what extra cost."

She went on: "I can't say there is going to be an impact on policing the streets of London because we just don't know how it will go.

"We don't know where the police might be required to take action if other parts of the system, for example borders, changes pressure on the police, we just don't know how that will work, we don't know what the protest scenario may be."

The Commissioner also spoke about the investigation into the Grenfell Tower tragedy, which she said is not expected to finish for years. 

The criminal investigation is looking at look into allegations of individual and corporate manslaughter and potential health and safety breaches.

In July, the Met revealed three interviews had been carried out under caution.

Ms Dick said around 200 officers were carrying out some "incredibly complex and thorough investigations", which involved speaking with "lots and lots" of people, some under caution.

Speaking 18 months after the fire, she said: "I'm sure at various stages there will be consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as to whether any criminal offences are made out and whether they could be proven.

"But it's going to be a very long job. I've always said that from the beginning. We have been very clear this will take years, not months, sadly.

"I know that's no comfort to the families, but when you look at the complexity of the volume of the material, and the complexity of the chains of decision making involved in the building, and indeed in how the building was put together and the way it was constructed, the way it was regulated and all those things, it's a massively complicated investigation."

A total of 72 people died as a result of the blaze on June 14 last year.

In a wide-ranging briefing looking back at 2018, Ms Dick vowed to continue with another complex investigation - the Novichok poisonings in Salisbury.

Asked about what the Met could do in the face of a "diplomatic impasse", Ms Dick confirmed there was "absolutely" more to do on the investigation side.

She said: "We don't give up in the Met, you know that, never have, not with egregious crimes and homicides.

"We don't give up, we don't forget, that's been the great maxim actually of the counter-terrorism command."


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