Belfast Telegraph

Extra British police won't go to NI border, MPs told

By Rebecca Black

Police officers from across the UK will not be deployed to the Irish border if sent to Northern Ireland to help quell Brexit tensions, a Westminster committee has heard.

Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin said mutual aid arrangements have not been used by the PSNI since 2013.

Since then, he said, such arrangements have been in place ready for a PSNI request each summer in case of violence during the parading season, but this year this readiness period has been extended due to Brexit.

Mr Martin told the Home Affairs Committee the PSNI had sought to extend arrangements "to have that contingency available to us in the event we had, for example civil unrest or disorder as a consequence of the European Union exit".

He said: "We certainly have that arrangement in place for a period of some months, but it is our earnest hope that we do not need to draw down on that mutual aid and we would only seek to use it in extreme circumstances where what we were facing was beyond our ability to manage within the PSNI resources."

Last week the Scottish Policing Federation expressed concern for the safety of officers sent here.

Mr Martin told MPs: "I understand those concerns and I would have empathy with them, but I would also seek to reassure them that the planning is in place, the logistics are in place ... they would be well accommodated, they would be well looked-after.

"We would ensure we would have local liaison officers accompanying them on their deployments, and it would not be our intention to deploy them on the border, but to deploy them in other areas to allow us to release some of our officers to augment the border area."

He added: "The mutual aid officers from Great Britain, we do not anticipate putting them in or around the border area."

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