7 July 2020
Hard-working Derbyshire Police officers have been praised for their bravery and commitment over the weekend, with the re-opening of pubs and restaurants stretching Force resources.
Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation, said there were ‘sporadic disturbances’ as people celebrated a step towards normal life after three months of lockdown restrictions.
“I think there was an air of trepidation once the Government announced almost two weeks ago now that they would allow pubs and restaurants to open on Saturday,” says Tony, “Obviously, just like so many other people, police officers have been looking forward to getting some normality but they also knew that there was a real risk things would get out of hand.
“The pubs may be open again but it is far from normal with table service, one-way systems, limits on the numbers of people who could be accommodated and, of course, social distancing among the pub-goers.
“Sadly, as is so often the case, the minority who were unable to control their drinking and behaviour ruined it for the majority of people who were happy to observe the rules, resulting in police officers being called to a number of disturbances on Saturday night into Sunday morning.
“Our hard-working officers did what they always do, they did their best to protect their communities and keep people safe. I am aware of at least one officer who did a 15-hour shift on Saturday and there were many others who had their days off cancelled or who worked long beyond the end of their shift responding to the many emergency calls we received.
“At times like this it beggars belief to think that some of those involved in alcohol-fuelled trouble at the weekend were, just a few short weeks ago, stood in their streets clapping to show their gratitude to emergency service workers – the same ones who now have to deal with the consequences of their drunken behaviour. How grateful is that?
“There are no ‘extra police officers’ to be drafted in to respond to these calls, to deal with drunken yobs and to protect people in their hour of need. They are the same officers who have been out there throughout this health crisis, now having to work more and longer shifts away from their families.
“Everyone needs to act with patience and self-control while we get used to the various stages in the easing of the lockdown. Over the coming weeks, repeats of the behaviour we saw from some at the weekend will result in increased pressure on our colleagues in the police and the NHS, potentially increasing the spread of the virus – undoing the good work we achieved over all those weeks of sacrifice and restrictions.”
Tony added: “I would like to put on record my thanks to all my hard-working , dedicated police officer colleagues and also to the PCSOs, police staff and Specials who also worked tirelessly under extremely challenging circumstances over the weekend.”