POLICE have warned next weeks’ Super Saturday of pubs reopening will be like “a month of new year’s eve” with violence and drunken disorder.
After four months without drinking in pubs, senior officers have warned pubs should have been reopened on a weekday to minimise fights and crowds. Police have warned there could be a “perfect storm” of drunk and disorderly behaviour
Brits ignored social distancing warnings before the lockdown was brought in
Police have branded the July 4 Super Saturday a “perfect storm” of drunkenness as Brits head to the pub or the first time.
Police believe social distancing rules which mean many people won’t be allowed in pubs will cause tensions to flare up if drinkers’ are turned away at boozer doors.
Before the lockdown was brought in forcing pubs and bars to close, Brits ignored social distancing warnings and flocked to their local to have one last hoorah with friends.
People will have to follow strict rules on how the behave once they are inside pubs as well – including no dancing, no hanging out at the bar to order drinks, keeping raised voices down, and abiding by a “one-in-one-out” rule in toilets.
Chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation Steve Kent said reopening pubs on a Monday or midweek would have helped officers deal with what could be a “perfect storm” of drunk and disorderly behaviour.
He told The Independent: “If it’s going to be on a Saturday and if the weather does turn out to be really hot, then it is going to unfortunately be a bit of a perfect storm.
“It’s likely that there are going to be, unfortunately, some occasions of disorder.”
Mr Kent added: “I think we’re going to have a couple of weeks of New Year’s Eves.”
The chair of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers have warned reopening all pubs at the same time, on what is predicted to be a sunny Saturday, will pile pressure on police, paramedics and the NHS.
Chair of the Federation John Apter said: “We all accept that the economy must get moving after such a long period of lockdown.
“However, the announcement of this easing of lockdown has been done in such a way that a head of steam will be gathering between now and the 4th July, which could be seen by some as a countdown to party time, which is not accurate and certainly not the message we want to send.
“There are worries about alcohol consumption leading to drunken and irresponsible behaviour, and there’s also the concern that people who can’t get into pubs because of restrictions that are still in place may cause conflict.
“This will, without doubt, add more pressure on policing, paramedics and the wider NHS.
“I know that there is a lot of frustration out there and business need to start making money, but public safety must be paramount and pressure on public services must be considered.
Mr Apter added: “The public have shown support for their key workers during lockdown; they can continue to give support by behaving sensibly now that the restrictions are easing.”
The President of the Police Superintendents’ Association told The Independent a “soft launch” on a Monday or a weekday would have been easier for officers to deal with.
Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths said: ““There is a risk on a weekend day, particularly if the weather is good, that there could be some challenges ahead for policing but the reality is we will deal with the demand.
“As a service we will gear ourselves accordingly and in areas where we think tensions might play out we’ll have a presence.”
Superintendent Griffiths flagged concerns that newly-introduced social distancing rules could cause disputes between staff trying to ensure patrons’ stay a safe distance from one another.
Pub owners are concerned about the responsibility placed on their shoulders to ensure people follow the guidelines such as only going indoors with one other household.
Chief exec of the Shepherd Neame chain of pubs Jonathan Neame told The Times he expected practical difficulties reminding customers of the rules.
He said: “I don’t think the licensee will be able to ask where customers live or double check they are from the same household.
“That would be taking licence responsibility to a level that is unknown.
“People will just have to use their judgment and there will have to be a degree of tolerance.”
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