Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Police Scotland to set up 'Brexit control centre' in Midlothian

police control
Image caption A separate police control room will take care of problems arising from Brexit

Police Scotland are setting up a dedicated control centre on the outskirts of Edinburgh to deal with any problems arising from Brexit.

It will be based at the Bilston Glen control room and will go live on 21 October - 10 days before the UK is due to leave the EU.

The plan was revealed in a report to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

The document also said the force had so far spent more than £8m on Brexit planning.

A Force Reserve (FR) has been established, located in five hubs across the country.

Its officers have been deployed more than 500 times since the beginning of August.

These have included policing events such as the disturbances in Govan, football matches and searches for missing people.

Image caption The Brexit control room will be based next to the police control at Bilston Glen

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said the force's Brexit contingency team was already in place.

He said: "Training and exercising activity has commenced and is based on identifying and responding to the reasonable worst-case scenarios that may be faced in the event of a no deal exit and a programme of exercises have been planned."

'Loss of access to resources'

His report, which will be considered at the SPA's board meeting on 24 September, said the force has increased the number of officers working in its International Bureau.

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Image caption A force reserve has been established at five hubs across the country

The aim is to ensure Police Scotland can continue to direct and manage international inquiries even if a no-deal Brexit means the loss of access to EU resources such as Europol and data sharing.

This includes Prüm, a system for exchanging biometric data which has recently gone live to link UK law enforcement agencies with those in Austria and Germany.

Nine "hits" have already been received in respect of crimes including murder, robbery and attempted rape.

It is planned to develop links with France, Spain and the Netherlands this month so the system can be established ahead of the departure from the EU.

DCC Kerr said: "This will ensure that Scotland maintains a strong footprint throughout the international law enforcement arena."

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