English and Scottish police could be sent into conflict situations in the north of Ireland after Brexit, it has emerged.
Regular police from Scotland and London’s Metropolitan police could be called on to tackle “unrest”, according to a British government official.
Under contingency plans, around 300 Scottish police would be first to be deployed to support the PSNI. If violence increases, hundreds of regular London bobbies could also be sent in to “maintain control”. It is expected they will be deployed mostly to urban areas as armed PSNI get transferred to rural areas near the border.
The Scottish Police Federation has already raised concerns over the welfare of their police sent to Ireland as they do not normally carry guns and have different training. Last week PSNI chief Simon Byrne warned of a return to “paramilitary-style policing” after Brexit.
PSNI harassment in republican areas has already increased, particularly in the Armagh area. Republican Sinn Féin said their members had been targeted by raids in Lurgan and Craigavon.
“This past two weeks has seen a number of homes raided with some member’s tools and work equipment taken for ‘forensic testing’,” they said. “These tools are needed for the men in question to go about their daily work.
“One individual went to the expense of buying new equipment as he would otherwise be without work, only for the peelers to arrive at his house early this morning, August 25, and take most of them along with his work van.
“Another individual similarly had tools taken last week and more taken this morning. Both these men have been arrested and taken for interrogation.”
RSF warned of a demonisation of republicans being sustained by a “compliant” media while republican activists are rounded up. Scores of charges are being brought against republicans involved in peaceful Easter commemorations in north Armagh.
Almost a hundred people have now been charged with commemorations following a PSNI operation against an Easter parade in the republican Kilwilkie estate in Lurgan last year.
“Republicans will resist the continued normalisation of Occupation,” they said. “As the old saying goes Oppression breeds Resistance, and we as Republicans will challenge this Occupation and the normalisation process.”