UK police stockpiling plastic bullets in case of Brexit unrest
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UK police stockpiling plastic bullets in case of Brexit unrest

UK media reported on Tuesday that London's Metropolitan Police, known as the Met, had spent half a million pounds on plastic bullets last year, more than three times than the amount the force had been spending on the weapon over the previous five years. The revelations come amid widespread concerns about riots on the streets of large cities like London after Britain leaves the EU. Many believe food and medicine supplies could rapidly dry out in the country if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. The government has sought to rule out any possibility of rioting and unrest after a no-deal Brexit, a situation which has become highly likely due to a political stalemate in the British parliament. However, various reports have suggested that police and the armed forces would be ready to deal with any form of civil disorder that could come out of the situation. Reports earlier this month said nearly 1,000 police officers from England and Scotland were being mobilized to deal with riots that could erupt in Northern Ireland after March 29. There is growing concern that a no-deal Brexit would lead to the return of checks and controls on the border between the British province and the Republic of Ireland three decades after a treaty was signed to end the violence on the island. The so-called attenuating energy projectiles (AEPs), a term used to designate plastic bullets in the British interior ministry, have never been used to deal with riots on mainland Britain. A senior opposition Labour Party lawmaker said it was hugely concerning to know that police in London were stockpiling plastic bullets to cope with a no-deal contingency. “It is very concerning that police forces would want to stockpile such weapons,” said Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary. She said the government should  instead spend the money to compensate years of cuts to the police budget. Liberty, a major human rights group, said there was a need for the Met and the government to rule out the use of plastic bullets for dealing with unrest. “Plastic bullets cause serious injuries and can kill. They have never been used to tackle disorder in mainland UK,” said Liberty. The group said the use of such weapons would only serve to inflame tensions.

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