Supermarkets are expecting to get police support to deter panic buying because of coronavirus.
Sources within the industry have said they are concerned that unruly behaviour could increase if tougher restrictions on peoples’ movements are brought in. There have been frenzied scenes with people fighting over basic items such as toilet paper, bottled water and tinned goods.
Shelves have been stripped bare and even dedicated opening hours for vulnerable shoppers have seen them left without after people continue to panic buy.
Boris Johnson has joined with the country’s biggest supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons, to urge shoppers to calm down.
They have now started to limit purchases of certain products as the pleas fall on deaf ears.
A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs Council said no national decision had yet been made on providing staffing at supermarkets.
He added: ‘We plan and prepare for every eventuality, as the public would expect their police service to do.’
‘We do not expect food shortages or looting. In fact, the experience of other countries suggest this is highly unlikely to be an issue. ‘Obviously we’ll deal with issues as they arise, and that’s not to say that there won’t be isolated incidents that we have to respond to.’