British police tell retailers to consider extra security ahead of Brexit

Workers prepare boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables ahead of distribution from the warehouse of Natoora, a fruit and vegetable distribution company, in south London, on Dec 5, 2018.
Workers prepare boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables ahead of distribution from the warehouse of Natoora, a fruit and vegetable distribution company, in south London, on Dec 5, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - British police said on Friday (Jan 11) they are advising retailers to consider extra security measures in case of panic buying as the deadline for Brexit approaches without a divorce deal in place.

London's Metropolitan Police revealed it was issuing the advice in case uncertainty around Britain's departure from the European Union led to a surge in people trying to stockpile goods.

"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," it said in a statement.

The message was also a bid to minimise the demands on policing that large crowds and queues might cause, the police added.

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29.

A withdrawal agreement negotiated with the bloc by Prime Minister Theresa May looks set to be rejected by MPs in Parliament next Tuesday amid fierce opposition from both Brexiteers and Remainers.

May has insisted that could lead to leaving without a deal, a scenario that some have warned could cause chaos across Britain and gridlock ports.

 

Retailers appeared to be reacting cautiously to the police advice.

James Martin, policy adviser on crime at the British Retail Consortium, said its roughly 5,000 members would work with police to keep shops running smoothly.

"Even if circumstances change, retailers are well-versed in providing effective security measures to protect customers and employees," he added.