25 June 2020
The re-opening of pubs next weekend could end up increasing the pressure on the police and the NHS, says Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton.
The Government is allowing pubs to open from 4 July as it seeks to ease the country out of the three-month lockdown.
“I fully understand that everyone sees the opening of the pubs as something to celebrate, since it will signify a return to a more normal way of life after three months of restrictions that have severely affected the way we live our lives,” says Tony.
“But people need to remember not just to ensure they stick to ongoing guidelines, including social distancing, but also that for weeks and weeks we all stood on our doorsteps clapping for the NHS and other front-line workers to show our appreciation for the hard work they were doing in response to the pandemic.
“Hard-working police officers will be front and centre again as we see restrictions eased and everyone adapting to what we can and cannot do at each stage. We are already seeing police officers being required to cancel much needed rest days in anticipation of the need for greater numbers to be available to cope with increased demand as pubs re-open.
“It would strike me as very sad, frustrating and annoying if next weekend we see drunken disturbances that end up putting more pressure on those same people – paramedics, ambulance personnel, nurses, doctors and the police. We all need to be sensible and patient as we move out of lockdown. To do otherwise risks all we have achieved with the sacrifices we have made so far.”
National Federation chair John Apter has expressed similar concerns.
“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 4 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,” he said.
And John added: “I would urge the public to be responsible, sensible, and mindful of the restrictions that are still in place. 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.”