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Officers hit by embargo as UK leaves EU and prepares for Brexit after-shocks

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Month-long moratorium as government issues guidance in case of no-deal disruption.


Thousands of officers have been told to put their “lives on hold” as Britain steels itself to leave the European Union.

The Kent force has slapped an embargo on taking leave for at least a month after Brexit as the government today began preparing the public for a possible no-deal scenario.

With just weeks until the UK is due to leave the EU, the force closest to the continent finds itself caught up in what Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay describes as the “pace and intensity of the work” being done to reflect the “potential scale of disruption to people and businesses across the UK that a no-deal scenario could bring”.

No further leave requests, other than those already approved, will be permitted for the Garden of England force’s 3,700 officers.

The ban runs from March 28 until April 30.

Kent assistant chief constable Peter Ayling told Police Oracle that personnel who had already booked time off after March 29 could “take it” but “no further leave requests will be approved at this time”.

He explained: “Kent Police regularly assesses significant events and assesses its resources accordingly, including when it is appropriate to decline leave requests when the threshold for the acceptable number of officers off duty is reached.”

A major leave moratorium is an unusual occurrence – the last one the Kent Police Federation recalls was for the Olympics in 2012.

The federation has sympathies with the force’s plight. “It is under considerable pressure over planning for Brexit,” said Kent secretary Dan Pearce, adding: “This is a matter for the force but we have tried to support them in this.”

Branch chairman Chris Carter said the force had been quick to consult with the rank-and-file as Easter falls within the Brexit window and the earliest possible notification will help give officers the chance to make the best possible alternative arrangements.

As the Kent force comes to terms with the consequences of Britain’s official exit deadline from the EU, Whitehall departments are to begin publishing guidance on how the public can get ready for potential issues that may arise from a disorderly break from Europe, the Brexit Secretary added.

The public information campaign will include broadcasts on radio and social media.

Mr Barclay said that no deal will be "far more likely" if MPs reject the Prime Minister's agreement when a vote is held in the week beginning January 14.

Next week the Home Office will publicise how new passport rules will affect people travelling to many European countries while the Department for Transport is sharing guidance on how the UK will ensure its population can continue to travel to the EU in the event of no deal.

All these impact on Kent Police.

Meanwhile, work has also begun on preparing Ramsgate port for new ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit while Seaborne Freight has been awarded a £13.8 million government contract to run the service.

View on Police Oracle 

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