'Higher police presence' in pubs to continue despite quiet first weekend

'Higher police presence' in pubs to continue despite quiet first weekend

By Gareth Dennison | 06/07/2020

'Higher police presence' in pubs to continue despite quiet first weekend
Supt Paul McCurry

PUB-goers were praised as bars across the borough reopened after three months to a relatively well-behaved first weekend.

South Yorkshire Police had a higher presence than usual just in case — but dealt with little more than typical Saturday night scuffles.

Staff took almost 4,000 calls to the 999 and 101 numbers, which was a slight decrease on the previous weekend.

Supt Paul McCurry, who oversaw the operation, said: "We weren’t fully sure what to expect. 

“I was really pleased to see the overwhelming majority of people behave responsibly, observe social distancing and comply with the measures that individual bars and restaurants had put in place. 

“On the whole, venues were extremely well prepared to welcome the public back, and it was great to see places starting to trade again.

“There were some isolated incidents of drunk and disorderly behaviour and units were deployed to some incidents of fighting on Saturday night, but there was very little need for my officers to take action.”

One flashpoint in Rotherham was when dozens of people descended on the Red Lion in Thorpe Hesley when other venues closed.

Posting on Facebook, the pub said it had been busy but manageable during the afternoon. However it closed its doors and called police when the situation became “downright dangerous”.

A police spokeswoman said: “Police were called shortly before 9pm on Saturday to reports of disorder and fighting in Brook Hill, Thorpe Hesley. 

“A 24-year-old man from Rotherham was arrested on suspicion of affray in connection with the incident.”

Rotherham Central Neighbourhood Police Team said there had been a few arrested for drunk and disorderly or breaching dispersal notices in the town centre. Posting on Twitter, they added: “On the whole, everyone behaved.”

Officers said the quiet weekend had provided an opportunity to speak with hospitality and door staff to understand what virus precautions they had put in place.

Supt McCurry added: “This weekend was a significant milestone in the easing of lockdown restrictions and the return to normality, but Covid-19 has by no means gone away. 

“As more venues reopen, and more people get the confidence to go out, please follow the guidelines put in place; they are there to protect you and those around you.

“You can expect to see a much higher police presence over the next few weekends, but we are there to support you. Please continue to behave responsibly, look after yourselves and look after each other.”

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