POLICE in Staffordshire are thanking the majority of people who visited their local licensed premises safely and responsibly after pubs and bars reopened across the region yesterday (July 4).
The force, like the rest of the emergency services across the country, anticipated a rise in demand as normality resumes and were well prepared for an increase in calls to the service with patrol strategies and a dedicated policing operation in place.
Despite the majority of people adhering to guidelines however, demand on the service was high and was comparable to that of New Year’s Eve.
The force received 449 999 calls between the hours of 7pm to 4am – just fewer than those recorded on New Year’s Eve (488) and double the number recorded on an average Saturday night in July 2019 (228).
Most calls related to drink-related disorders and anti-social behaviour.
A special constable also suffered serious facial injuries following an assault on Market Place in Uttoxeter just before 8pm last night. He was taken to hospital by colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service and was discharged this morning (June 5) with a fractured cheek bone.
An 18-year-old man from Burton-on-Trent has been arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent and a 17-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of affray. They both remain in custody at this time and detectives are asking anyone who may have filmed or witnessed the incident to come forward.
Chief Constable Gareth Morgan said: “We understand that a lot of people were eager to get out as restrictions lifted and I’d like to thank the majority of people who did so responsibly, adhering to government guidelines and to the procedures local bars and restaurants had in place.
“As expected, calls for service increased substantially and we received a number of reports of violence, anti-social and drunk and disorderly behaviour. Colleagues and partners worked hard to ensure all eventualities were planned for and I am grateful for the ongoing and collaborative effort to keep people safe.
“My thoughts and well wishes are with the Special Constable who was injured while fulfilling his duties serving his local community. Any attack against a police officer is absolutely despicable and I know it will be condemned by the public. I am clear when I say this behaviour will not be tolerated - officers do not deserve to be treated in this way.
“We continue to have robust plans in place as we all get used to a new normal with more premises opening and we would urge people to continue to be sensible during what is still an unprecedented time.
“The crisis isn’t yet over - Coronavirus remains a serious risk and people need to continue to be sensible and follow Government guides which include social distancing and increased hygiene measures.”
Extra neighbourhood patrols will continue to be in place around licensed premises and Staffordshire Police will continue to work closely with partners and the night-time economy to ensure the county’s towns and cities are kept safe.