Police expect increased polling day demands in South Yorkshire as Brexit tensions rise

Police in South Yorkshire will ramp up their General Election plans if a ‘snap’ poll is announced later this year, force bosses have confirmed.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 11:44 am
Updated Thursday, 12th September 2019, 12:04 pm
Preparations: Police will be ready for a snap election

The confirmation that senior officers expect greater demands on the force than a routine General Election comes after the Government was forced to publish its own Yellowhammer contingency plans for a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which suggest riots could occur as a result of protests and counter-protests generated by the move.

South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, has been told by Assistant Chief Constable Tim Forber: “We recognise if we have a snap election this side of Christmas it will probably require a bit more careful thought and planning in terms of police requirements.

“We have started to think about what arrangements we might have to put in place if there is a General Election. It is highly likely there will be one in the next few months,” he said.

ACC Forber was speaking at a meeting of Dr Billings’ Public Accountability Board and did not go into detail about the scale or type of measures the South Yorkshire force may introduce.

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Police involvement at General Elections is normally minimal, with officers attending vote counts, but that is routine procedure.

The force has daily management meetings, where Brexit is on the agenda, with senior officers aware of the potential for the political situation to spark hate crime, though there is little evidence of that being a problem in the county at present.

One emerging issue police are aware of in the county is a potential bottleneck of members of the Roma community who need to register to remain here after Brexit.

That has to be done by December and from a community of around 6,000 only around 500 have so far done so.

South Yorkshire Police has its own ‘gold’ commander with responsibilities for Brexit issues, Chief Supt Scott Green, who is also commander for the Barnsley district.