EXCLUSIVE: Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police on Brexit, hate crime and citizenship concerns of staff
A breakdown of law and order in South Holland because of Brexit will be “absolutely unacceptable”, according to Lincolnshire’s top police officer.
Speaking to the Spalding Guardian, Chief Constable Bill Skelly gave assurances that anyone who becomes a target of “intimidation or hate crime” will be supported.
Mr Skelly also offered his support to Sergeant (Sgt) Rick Mosley (51), community beat sergeant for Spalding and Crowland, who was born in Canada and moved to the UK as a five-year-old.
Revealing his concerns on social media in February this year about citizenship issues in the wake of Brexit, Sgt Mosley described his situation as “a very difficult process” where “the goalposts are being moved regularly”.
Mr Skelly said: “The wider context around the discussion on Brexit continues to be very unsettling for everyone.
“No one has any certainty or clarity around when or how decisions are going to be made.
"Our communities are uncertain, our officers and staff are uncertain.
"But, from a policing point of view, we're here to support democracy and the rule of law.
"Whatever Parliament decided, we as the police service are there to enforce what is done, in respect of the law.
"Any public disorder, hate crime or intimidation is something that we will take action on because that's absolutely unacceptable."
According to Lincolnshire Police's Force Management Statement, published in June 2018, the county has seen "an increase in hate crime over the past three years that we expect to continue".
But, in contrast, a parliamentary study on hate crimes published in March this year found that Lincolnshire had the third lowest number of incidents among police forces in England and Wales, with 416 reports in 2017-18.
Mr Skelly said: "We want to ensure that we support lawful protests and demonstrations, whether for or against Brexit, pro-Brexit or not.
"But criminality, in relation to the decisions of Parliament, is something that we will not support and the community can have the assurance that we, as a police service, are here for you.
"In terms of my own staff, the Government has set out the process of ensuring that your citizenship and right to remain in the UK is clear.
"But we've been clear that if there is anyone who falls into the category where they are worried about it, they should contact our human resources professionals and we will support them.
"This does not involve the bulk of the service but there may be one or two who find themselves in that position and so we're trying to make sure they have access to the information they need."