Police are being drafted away from Welsh forces to work in England because of Brexit.
Officers from 33 constabularies across the UK are being redeployed to Kent to help deal with traffic issues in the county as part of contingency plans following the change in rules when travelling to the continent as a result of leaving the EU.
They are supporting the Kent force with its traffic management scheme to mitigate disruption around Channel ports, as well as helping at lorry parks established for HGVs waiting to cross to France.
Of the four Welsh forces, Gwent, Dyfed Powys and South Wales Police have so far sent officers to assist, and North Wales Police will be sending officers next month.
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The forces have not said from which duty areas they have been diverted – although Gwent Police say it would depend on what is happening in the force area at the time of their redeployment.
North Wales Police say four officers will be deployed to Kent on March 1 for one week.
Gwent Police would not disclose how many officers it has sent, but North Wales Police say four officers will be deployed on March 1 for one week.
A spokesman for Dyfed Powys Police added: “Two Dyfed-Powys Police officers have been assisting Kent Police via mutual aid. Their precise duties will be at the discretion of Kent Police.
“The redeployment of officers will be under constant review in light of demand in both force areas. The are no financial implications as the force will receive appropriate compensation via the national mutual aid fund”.
And a spokesman for South Wales Police added: “South Wales Police has deployed a small number of officers on mutual aid to Kent. The most recent deployments were of two and seven officers for a period of around a week or less.
“It’s worth noting that South Wales Police has benefited from police mutual aid arrangements during high profile events held in the force area”.
Kent Police say ‘severe’ disruption has yet to materialise since the end of the EU transition period.
Lorry traffic on the crossing from Kent to the EU on ferries and via the Channel Tunnel was down in January but traffic levels in Kent have resumed to normal levels, with more than 6,000 lorries a day now leaving via Kent ports.
Kent assistant chief constable Claire Nix said: “As part of Kent Police’s contingency planning mutual aid officers have been requested to assist the force. Mutual aid provides valued support between forces, something Kent Police frequently contributes resources to support other forces in times of need. Kent Police recovers EU exit related costs from the Home Office.
“Whilst it is pleasing that we have not yet experienced any significant issues on Kent’s roads, we are continuing to closely monitor daily traffic levels so any problems that may emerge can be quickly addressed.
“We are also aware that the roads are currently quieter than usual due to the national Covid-19 lockdown, and that disruption in the future remains a distinct possibility. We therefore cannot afford to be complacent.”
The Kent Resilience Forum partnership of organisations and agencies said around 6,000 traffic cones, 600 traffic management signs and more than 120 other items of road furniture including CCTV cameras and lights had been installed by Highways England to help deal with the disruption.
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