Britian could see a return to rationing in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, with Police Scotland confirming that they were ready to respond to any public disruption.
Yesterday, the UK Government revealed they had appointed a minister to oversee the protection of food supplies for the first time since the Second World War.
MP David Rutley, a former Asda and PepsiCo executive, is responsible to oversee the protection of food supply through the Brexit process.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone confirmed that his officers were prepared and are also braced to potentially help other forces protect the borders in Northern Ireland, Dover, sea ports and airports.
Mr Livingstone told the Scottish Police Authority Board that he does not have “exact clarity” on the cost of policing Brexit.
He told The Herald “It is a concern and an issue which I have discussed with colleagues in the Scottish Government and the SPA,”
Speaking at an SPA board meeting in Stirling he said: “I am aware that the Cabinet Office is coordinating the UK Government response.
“The Treasury, I am told, has developed a contingency fund for the potential cost of a no deal Brexit or a contested Brexit arrangement.
“Such matters would clearly involve the potential provision of mutual aid from Police Scotland to colleagues in Northern Ireland, where there may be pressure in regard to the common travel area and the land border that they have with the south.
“There is potential disruption to food and pharmaceutical supply chains, potential disruption to seaports and airports.
“Clearly the links from the south east of England through Kent and elsewhere may also create some pressures.
“So, in that regard, we as the second largest police service in the UK stand ready to provide any mutual aid that may be required, while at the same time ensuring that we address any vulnerabilities and threat to our own country.
“That is the reason we need UK wide coordination. This is the UK that is leaving its treaty obligations that it has previously entered, and therefore the implications will be felt throughout the UK, at the same time recognising the very different legal system that exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“Cost has not been confirmed. It is a focus of mine. I will continue to link in with UK police chief colleagues.
“I’m in Cardiff next week for a further meeting of UK police chiefs, where Brexit planning around that and indeed cost recovery will feature in our discussions.
“It is very much in the forefront of my mind, it’s not stopping the work that we need to do, but it is absolutely legitimate that we consider where some of those costs are recovered from.”
The decision to appoint a minister to oversee protection of food supplied sparked much debate yesterday at FMQs with Nicola Sturgeon saying that such an appointment should give everyone in the UK pause for thought.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the appointment exposes the “shambolic” handling of Brexit and said Tory Brexiters should be the first to bear the brunt “if there ever comes a day when there is food rationing in this country”.
“The Tories’ stewardship of Brexit and the UK as a whole is proving so catastrophic that they have had to appoint a minister for food supplies, which is the first time that such a post has been held since world war two,” she said.
“How has it come to this situation? It is shameful, and it should be a source of shame for a long time to come for every member of the Conservative Party.
“I certainly hope that it will not come to food rationing in this country.
“Things are becoming so shambolic that it is time to draw a halt to this Brexit catastrophe.
“If there ever comes a day when there is food rationing in this country because of a Tory Brexit, perhaps the first people who should bear the burden of that are Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, David Davis and Michael Gove—all people who perpetrated a dishonesty on the people of this country.
“We will see how they enjoy their Brexit bonanza.”
Despite her comments, the Conservatives last night said her comments amounted to “disgraceful scaremongering”.
Last night, Adam Tomkins, Scottish Conservative shadow constitutional secretary, said: “We know there may be some disruption due to Brexit and it is right that Police Scotland prepares for this.
“The First Minister’s mention of rationing is nothing short of disgraceful scaremongering.
“As the government of Scotland the SNP’s role should be to constructively engage in preparations for Brexit.
“Once again it is glaringly obvious that the SNP has every intention of furthering its own agenda and no intention of working on behalf of the people of Scotland.”