UK police advise shops to hire extra security for no-deal Brexit

LONDON — U.K. police are advising retailers to consider hiring extra security guards in the event of a no-deal Brexit, amid fears that public concern about potential shortages of food and other goods could lead to crowd control issues at shops.

Contingency planners are concerned supermarkets and other retailers may have to deal with a rush of customers if fears of shortages leads to panic-buying. However, in a statement, a spokesperson for London’s Metropolitan Police said they have no information to suggest that looting is a likely outcome of a no-deal Brexit.

“In line with similar advice given at a national level to the retail industry, we are suggesting to retailers that they may wish to consider planning for additional security in the event that concerns about shortages of goods leads to a significant increase in customers,” a Met spokesperson said.

“We are having these conversations in order to minimize the demands on policing from any resulting large crowds or queues at shops and as part of our regular civil contingency engagement with businesses and partners.”

Shortages caused by potential disruption at ports are one of the main concerns for contingency planners preparing for the prospect of the U.K. leaving the EU without a deal on March 29.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service secure the area outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Janaury 8, 2019 | Niklas Halle’n/AFP via Getty Images

With MPs widely expected to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday, a no-deal Brexit remains the default outcome. While a majority of MPs will try to prevent such a scenario, it is not yet clear how this will be achieved and the government,

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