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Police are preparing for massive traffic queues at ports leading to "unprecedented and overwhelming" disruption of the wider road network in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Contingency plans drawn up by the National Police Co-ordination Centre (NPCC), leaked to the Sunday Times, warn that, if ministers cannot secure a Brexit deal, the UK could see shortages of food and medicines which could "feed civil disorder" and see "widespread protest which could then escalate into disorder".

The report, which looks at the potential consequences of Britain crashing out of the EU, warns of the "real possibility" that soldiers will be deployed to help keep the peace with police forces, particularly in Kent and other port areas, expected to cancel rest days and leave immediately after 29 March.

The plans predict around three months of disruption either side of Brexit day, rather than the six weeks planned for by the government and forecasts the need for Operation Stack to be used at docks around the country and not just at the Channel ports, to control lengthy queues.

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RHA policy director Duncan Buchanan CM the report underscores RHA’s calls for an implementation period in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“We have been calling for the UK and EU to agree a no-deal implementation period for some time. It is absolutely essential that we have an agreed period of at least 18 months tor two years to adjust to these changes, if there is no deal Brexit,” he added.

The NPCC lead for operations, Chief Constable Charlie Hall, said: “The police are planning for all scenarios that may require a police response in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“At this stage, we have no intelligence to suggest there will be an increase in crime or disorder. However, we remain vigilant and will continue to assess any threats and develop plans accordingly.”

Asked about the plans on The Andrew Marr show, Home Secretary Sajid Javis said: “This is an unprecedented situation but most important of all we must keep focussed on the deal and get a deal delivered but at the same time every government department should prepare for all possible outcomes.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: ”We do not want or expect a no-deal scenario and are increasingly confident that we will secure a deal with the EU.

"However, it is the duty of any responsible government to prepare for every eventuality, including the unlikely scenario that we reach March 2019 without agreeing a deal.

"With that in mind, we are working closely with operational partners — including the police — on contingency planning so we can ensure the safety and security of our citizens in all scenarios.”

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