South Yorkshire Police reveal their biggest challenge in Sheffield when lockdown starts to lift

South Yorkshire Police officers are gearing up for ‘challenging’ times as lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted from next week.

Lockdown restrictions are eased from March 8, when schools re-open and people can meet one other person from another household to socialise outdoors.

From March 29, outdoor gatherings of six people will be allowed, outdoor sports facilities will be allowed to reopen and some formally organised outdoor sports can go ahead.

From April 12, non-essential shops, hair, nail and beauty salons can re-open along with gyms.

The South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation said officers are gearing up for a challenging time as Covid restrictions are lifted

Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors.

From May 17, the rule of six or two households will continue to apply indoors but restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted.

Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to re-open.

From June 21, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.

Steve Kent, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said: “The next couple of months are going to be very challenging to our officers and staff.

“Throughout this pandemic they have as much as anyone been at the front line of this crisis and often without the recognition our NHS colleagues have rightly received.

“What we are going to clearly see when restrictions are eased is sudden spikes in demand when people want to go out again and enjoy the restaurants and pubs, as we know alcohol sadly causes issues for which our police have to get involved, whether that be disorder or sadly domestic violence.

“When this is coupled with the Euro football tournament this summer, it will be a challenging time for officers who like us all will be desperate to enjoy their own downtime.

“They will likely find that leave may be cancelled and they will have to work longer and harder to keep everyone safe when a lot of country may be celebrating coming out of lockdown.

“I can’t pay enough credit to all at South Yorkshire Police who have not faltered throughout the last 12 months.

“It has been an extremely tough time, they deserve all the same recognition and credit as much as anyone for what they have done.”