Threat of Public Disorder Looms Across UK
Second Wave and No-Deal Brexit Could Spell Chaos
The military are on standby to deal with any supply chain challenges and unrest in the UK if Covid, seasonal flu and no-deal Brexit hit at the same time.
Lockdown restrictions may have eased in the UK, but the situation is far from normal as confirmed by a leaked Cabinet Office document. The government are secretly preparing for the prospect of a second wave of Covid-19 occurring at the same time as a no-deal Brexit situation. This combination could cause widespread disruption across the entire nation.
Potential For Chaos
Hospitals could be put under considerable strain once again as seasonal flu looks set to meet a second wave of the coronavirus, which would overwhelm the NHS.
Furthermore, power and petrol shortages could be a potential consequence of this occurrence, as it would be expected that thousands of fuel trucks could be stalled in Dover, spelling chaos during the winter months.
There are also concerns about supply chain challenges due to delays around Portsmouth. It is anticipated that the Channel Islands may end up being cut off, leading the military to airdrop food down to residents, in the case of an emergency. The navy could also be deployed to prevent British fishermen from clashing with European fishing boats.
Aside from a Brexit no-deal, there are already signs that widespread tensions are boiling across the UK. Where lockdown restrictions have been reintroduced in high-risk areas of the country, there is the possibility that rioting may start to take place. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, or SAGE, has advised the government that street parties, local restrictions, protests and racial inequalities are all combining to challenge public order. One document describes, “The situation is volatile and highly complex. Tensions resulting from the pandemic and lockdown have become inextricably bound with structural inequalities and international events.”
Whilst plans are in place to deploy police and the military to the streets if any perceived threats to public order exist, there are also multiple steps that businesses can take to protect their premises and their livelihoods. Making changes to the security and possibly the structure of your building will make all the difference in the event that riots do occur. Industrial security doors will prevent any trespassers from being able to break into shop premises, whilst CCTV will help provide the authorities with relevant surveillance footage. Business owners will also be able to keep sites monitored for reassurance when they are vacant. Now would also be a good time to prepare by ensuring that insurance cover would be valid in the event of a riot.
Any public disorder threatens the ability of the authorities to control contagion, which is why the government is preparing for this type of scenario. We’ve seen what happened in the violent clashes of 2011, following the police shooting of Mark Duggan. With tensions and political unrest heightened across the entire country in 2020, it makes sense for everyone to prepare for a worst-case scenario. Diffusing any violent protests will go a long way to both reducing the transmission of the virus whilst also preventing largescale public disorder from taking place. A government spokesperson explains “This is not a forecast or prediction of what will happen but rather a stretching scenario. It reflects a responsible Government ensuring we are ready for all eventualities.”