Police increase presence to ensure safe relaxing of Covid restrictions

Crowds flocked to Felixstowe to soak up the sun on Bank Holiday Monday. Picture:Sarah Lucy Brown

Bars, restaurants and tourism hotspots will see increased police patrols - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

An additional police presence is set for bars, pubs and tourism hotspots from next week, as officers aim for a safe relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore told Friday’s Police and Crime Panel that plans have been worked on since spring to divert resources to ensure officers were available from Monday’s ‘Freedom Day’ relaxing of Covid-19 rules.

“The big challenge coming up as the lockdown starts to end next Monday with more and more people coming to visit Suffolk through staycations – which is very welcome from an economic recovery perspective – nevertheless it will present challenges to the constabulary,” he said.

“Plans are well advanced for that by diverting resources to make sure people are kept safe. And of course, the opening of pubs and clubs after remaining more or less moribund for 18 months.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner, has urged residents to contine respecting the

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner, has urged residents to contine respecting the lockdown Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

“I hope people can be moderate and sensible in their behaviour, and don’t go out and tank down skinfuls night after night. I am happy to say, the town pastors are ready, and in Ipswich the taxi marshalling scheme we run with Ipswich Central and the borough council is all ready to be fired up as well.

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“If people continue to follow the advice around hand washing, ventilation, distancing and mask wearing on public transport or crowded places, then I am very confident we will see through this.”

Suffolk Constabulary confirmed it would have a visible presence at high-footfall areas and tourism hotspots, to help make the easing of restrictions as safe as possible.

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A force spokesman said: “Police will be providing visible, targeted and positive engagement and presence around areas of high footfall over the summer such as bars and pubs.

“The force mobile police station will also be touring the county, paying visits to various locations.

“With the easing of lockdown rules most people have enjoyed their new freedoms sensibly and it’s great to see businesses re-establishing themselves.

“However, we have a responsibility to them and our communities to keep them safe and deal positively with criminal behaviour so we will not tolerate violence, abuse or anti-social behaviour.”

Latest figures indicated there had been no fixed penalty notices issued in the last two weeks for Covid-19 breaches, and just 0.1% of the calls into the police control room were around Covid-19.

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