Thousands of extra officers on duty for 'Super Saturday'

Police will be out in force on Super Saturday

Thousands of extra police officers will be on duty this weekend amid concern that drinkers may get out of control when the pubs open for the first time in three months.

Leave has been cancelled in some force areas as police chiefs are braced for scenes similar to a hectic New Year’s Eve or an England World Cup football clash.

Some police leaders have criticised the Government for reopening pubs on a Saturday, with warnings that Accident and Emergency departments could resemble a “circus full of drunken clowns”.

Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said there will be a lot of extra officers on the streets to deal with any incidents of violence or lawlessness.

She said: ”We're planning, we've got extra resources in place, we're talking to people in every way we can think of, we are absolutely prepared.

"You will see a lot of police officers out on the street. There will be a lot more ready should people be out of order, should people get violent. But I'm not predicting that at this stage."

She added: ”My message is, if you're coming out on Saturday, be calm, be sensible. Look after yourself, look after your family.

"We are still in a global pandemic which is affecting this country very obviously. People need to be sensible.”

While the police will be on hand to deal with any trouble, it is down to the licensees to ensure that social distancing is maintained within their premises.

Pub landlords and even restaurant owners have been recruiting extra bouncers to maintain order at their venues as the lockdown is lifted.

Ambassador Protection, a security firm that operates in pubs and bars in London and the home counties, said they are "exceptionally busy" ahead of this weekend's reopening. 

The company has also seen an increase in demand for door staff to work at fine dining restaurants that do not usually employ security.

Fears over customers not listening to social distancing guidelines enforced by hospitality staff is what is driving the demand, the firm's operations manager said.

"London based restaurants and high end establishments in the city are anticipating an uplift in numbers from this weekend," Nigel Evans said. 

"For July 4th, we are seeing bars and restaurants that do not usually have security asking for assistance on their front doors and at reception.

"Many are looking for security guards who can offer an assertive voice to customers on social distancing rules.”

Tim Clarke from the Metropolitan Police Federation, that represents officers up to the rank of chief inspector, said he feared this weekend "could be anything but a 'Super Saturday' for police officers".

He went on: "The challenges they face this weekend with pubs and restaurants reopening and many people predicted to travel across the country to see family and friends will make this weekend perhaps as busy as policing New Year's Eve.”

Brian Booth, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, warned that alcohol fuels crime and puts more strain on the emergency services. He said: "Police officers are right to have concerns about this weekend and Government restrictions being lifted based on our experience of people's behaviour changing when alcohol is involved.

"We have more violence, street disorder, sexual assaults, missing people and injured people who may need medical assistance. All of these impose significant strain on policing and our colleagues in the NHS.

He went on: "Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, local A&Es on Friday and Saturday nights were at times akin to a circus full of drunken clowns. We do not need this once again.”