Police chiefs have warned that a ‘pressure cooker is building up’ which could erupt into an orgy of violence this summer as lockdown ends.
Forces have begun cancelling leave and bolstering public order units in anticipation of widespread drunken disorder on so-called Super Saturday when lockdown is officially lifted on July 4.
Privately, many police chiefs are furious at Boris Johnson’s decision to lift restrictions on a Saturday because they fear it will lead to a ‘carnival’ atmosphere as pubs reopen and people can finally reunite with friends and families.
They are concerned that the violence in Brixton on Wednesday night could be just the beginning of a summer of disorder
Police had to break up a fight in Brighton yesterday as tensions on the hottest day of the year boiled over
Sunseekers on Bournemouth beach drank into the night yesterday and police fear violence could erupt once more venues open up on July 4
Police clash with crowds gathered at Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow yesterday as a heatwave hits Scotland during the pandemic
Green MP Caroline Lucas joined the Police Federation in raising the alarm over the decision to ease lockdown restrictions on July 4, saying she thought police had been put in an ‘impossible position’ (pictured, on the Barbican in Plymouth yesterday)
Police chiefs have warned that there are ‘not enough’ officers to cope with potential carnage on July 4 as thousands of stir-crazy Britons are expected to rush to pubs on ‘Super Saturday’ (pictured, in Bournemouth yesterday)
People enjoy drinks at Borough Market in London yesterday as the UK experiences yet another day of heat and sunshine
Britons queue for drinks outside the Globe pub in Borough Market, London as temperatures soared yesterday
They are concerned that the violence in Brixton on Wednesday night could be just the beginning of a summer of disorder due to a ‘perfect storm’ of pent-up anger over the lockdown, soaring unemployment and Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in America.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: ‘I am concerned that we have a pressure cooker building up, a perfect storm. This could just be the beginning.
‘It’s everything – people getting more and more frustrated at the lockdown, many young people do not think the pandemic is an issue for them.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: ‘I am concerned that we have a pressure cooker building up, a perfect storm. This could just be the beginning
Home Secretary Priti Patel (left) has demanded to see Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick (right) ‘first thing tomorrow morning for full explanation’ after ‘mini riot’ in Brixton
‘Now many companies are going to start laying people off, which financially is going to be a real challenge for people.
‘Add to that what has happened overseas with George Floyd and we have seen protests spreading across the country.’
Mr Apter said police had requested a midweek date for the reopening – but their pleas were rejected by Downing Street.
‘In an ideal world I would have liked to see the reopening in the middle of a week, to stagger things a bit,’ he said. ‘I wish we could have had a little bit of support on that.’
Crowds gather on the beach in Bournemouth in Dorset yesterday on another scorching day for much of Britain
Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow many more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. Pictured, people sit outside a pub that sells takeaway drinks in London
Boris Johnson has announced the reopening of pubs on July 4, dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ (pictured, at Wandsworth Common)
Bars have opened in Kings Cross offering outdoor seating. The tables are arranged to comply with the Government’s rules
A waitress in PPE at a Greene King pub in Fort St George in Cambridge, as England adjusts to the new normal
Priti Patel has described the scenes last night as ‘utterly vile’ and said she will be picking it up with the Met Commissioner
The ground in Brixton was littered with drinks bottles and small containers which have what is known as ‘hippy crack’ inside
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: ‘If the weather is as it is now when they reopen then we could be in for a real apocalyptic day.’
He added: ‘There is no place in society for disorder and wanting to cause violence and pain and grief towards public and police alike.’
Social psychologist Professor Clifford Stott, a member of No 10’s Sage panel, has already warned: ‘I think in the worst case scenario it’s not inconceivable that we could have disorder on a scale equivalent to August 2011.’