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On the 23rd of June 2016 the United Kingdom voted to formally leave the European Union after more than four decades of membership.

A cross-party leave campaign, headed by de facto leaders Nigel Farage (UKIP) and Boris Johnson (Conservative), succeeded by a slim margin. Against the predictions of prestigious polling agencies and the recommendations of major, authoritative public bodies such as the IMF, the British public returned a result of 51.9% to leave with a 72.2% (eligible) turnout.

Westminster and Whitehall will now have to oversee a near complete overhaul of Britain’s role in Europe. Parliament will also rewrite a good number of EU laws to work correctly within an independant Britain. The finances, political leadership, and market stability of the United Kingdom are anticipated to fluctuate greatly during this five year period. Austerity measures and cuts may return, causing political tension and unhappiness.

On top of this, Britain’s diplomatic position in the world is now uncertain. While the UK will continue to form part of NATO and remain allied with the US, it may not take the priority it did in diplomatic affairs as part of a larger state. Foreign dignitaries may view Britain as less reliable and internally stable than it once was. Russia has also expressed an interest in reevaluating its relationship with Britain. Scotland may try to leave again, via a second referendum.

While prejudice and hatred against immigrants have been strongly condemned across the British political spectrum for years, chronic tension has subsequently surfaced in some communities following Brexit. Casual members of a seemingly emboldened far-right have already been identified as key suspects in a number of xenophobic and racist hate crimes across Britain.

These incidents have included the vandalisation of a Polish community centre in Hammersmith, London, written intimidation posted to Polish households in Huntingdon, Cambridge, and a vast number of instances of verbal abuse, harassment, and intimidation against BAME British citizens and EU nationals (amongst others). A non-violent backlash against the excesses of Brexit led by left-wing activists seems to have followed in the wake of these shocking attacks.

What does this all mean for private security? Brexit will probably cause a sharp increase in demand. Years of uncertainty and change, violent and criminal acts growing in volume, and nascent political unrest and extremism look likely.

More Information

Met Police on alert for EU referendum hate crime rise – BBC News

UK, US officials play down security implications of Brexit, but questions remain – Russia Today