RNA - Martin Hewitt, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said on Thursday that there was a responsibility for key figures on all sides of the Brexit debate to avoid further inflaming tensions at a time when Britain is deeply divided on the issue.
“There’s a responsibility on us all to think carefully and be temperate in how we communicate so we don’t inflame tensions,” said Hewitt.
The plea comes a day after the UK parliament passed a bill to force the government to seek a long delay to Brexit and to avoid a no-deal withdrawal on the new, delayed exit date, which falls on Friday, next week.
The parliamentary vote has sparked fears that failing to get Britain out of the EU could lead to civil unrest as police are offering more protection to lawmakers who continue to receive threats from pro-Brexit campaigners.
Chief Constable Charlie Hall said there was a real risk for increased hate crimes in the coming weeks.
“National and global events have the potential to trigger short-terms rises in hate crime and we saw this with the significant spike following the EU Referendum in 2016,” said Hall.
He said that police across the UK had mobilized some 10,000 officers specially trained to deal with the contingency that could arise from a no-deal Brexit.
“We are well prepared to respond to any issues that may arise,” said the commander, adding that the special force will be ready to respond to emergencies within 24 hours and for a continued single week.