Sadiq Khan orders London’s emergency planners to prepare for no-deal Brexit

Body responsible for anything ‘which threatens serious damage to human welfare’ instructed to assess impact of UK crashing out of EU without a deal.

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The mayor of London says he has “no choice” but to order London’s crisis planners to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Sadiq Khan said the London Resilience Forum would assess the impact of Britain crashing out of the EU on access to medicine, energy and food, as well as the ability to maintain emergency care, law and order.

The group, whose 170 member organisations include police and the emergency services, is charged with preparing for and responding to crises including terror attacks, the Grenfell Tower fire and any situation “which threatens serious damage to human welfare”.

Mr Khan, said: “The government has completely mishandled the Brexit negotiations and been held hostage by the hard-Brexit zealots in Parliament.

“Even ministers now admit that crashing out of the EU with no deal is now more likely than ever. If the government had taken a different approach to the negotiations this would never have been an option, but we are now left with no choice but to plan for a no-deal scenario.”

The Labour politician said City Hall was also working to help businesses prepare for any changes to the rights of EU citizens living and working in London.

Earlier this month, the government was warned that a no-deal Brexit would put public safety at risk and reduce policing capacity in Britain.

A letter from leaders of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) said the loss of key EU databases, the European Arrest Warrant system and full Europol membership “could pose significant risks to our local communities”.

“These shared tools, measures, initiatives and capabilities which have been developed over the last 40 years of cooperation across the EU have saved many lives,” said the document, which was seen by The Independent.

“Considerable additional resource would be required for policing to operate using non-EU tools and that such tools would be sub-optimal – potentially putting operational efficiency and public safety at risk.

“It is also recognised that recruitment, vetting, and training of staff to use these tools would take a substantial amount of time.”

The APCC’s Brexit working group, which contains Conservative, Labour and independent commissioners, said 32 law enforcement and national security measures are currently used on a daily basis in the UK.

“Unless the government is able to negotiate the retention of these measures following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, police and law enforcement agencies face a significant loss of operational capacity,” its letter read.

“A ‘no-deal’ scenario could cause delays and challenges for UK policing and justice agencies.”

It called on the home secretary to prioritise access to EU-wide systems, while developing “effective contingency plans” for a no-deal Brexit and give the work the funding needed.

Britain risks losing access to systems including Europol, the European Arrest Warrant and Schengen Information System II (SIS II) – a huge database containing information on terrorists, criminals, missing people and objects that police say there is “no alternative” to.

The government has proposed a security treaty that it claims would allow information sharing to continue, but its refusal to be governed by the European Court of Justice could block transfers because of data protection laws.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said what without an arrangement allowing for continued close working, both UK police and EU member states will lose the capability to identify criminals, terrorists and missing people crossing borders, detain foreign citizens and accessing vital data.

The NPCC said a small team is currently working on contingency plans in the event that access to some or all European systems is lost.

The Home Affairs Committee has also condemned both UK and EU negotiators for putting the safety and security of their citizens at risk by refusing to cross political “red lines”.

MPs said the UK was on course for a “catastrophic” Brexit security deal that could see criminals and terrorists go free, threatening the ability to prevent serious crime and effectively secure borders.

The Independent