Police chiefs fear there could be a rise in violent crime and domestic abuse as people drunkenly celebrate the end of Covid restrictions.
South Yorkshire Police are bracing themselves for a perfect storm this summer as restrictions are set to be eased on June 21, the European Championships kick off and the warm weather begins.
They are ready for an increase in domestic violence reports as lockdown eases and women have more opportunity to seek help.
This will be coupled with the night time economy reopening prompting more drinking and socialising.
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said he would like pubs and clubs to reopen gradually.
He told a police meeting: “Nationally we’re anticipating significant increases in demand and we’re certainly getting ready in terms of staffing and shift patterns.
“I think it would be helpful if it was lifted in a phased manner and we’ll certainly be engaging with local authorities to ensure that.
“We want businesses to get back and start making money and we appreciate their loss but it needs to be done in a structured and sensible way to avoid a really negative impact.”
The European Championships from mid June to July are an added worry.
“When there’s a major football tournament, we see increases in domestic abuse and alcohol related violence and crime. We saw this markedly in 2018 with the World Cup.
“Alcohol related incidents can be larger groups congreting or even people drinking in the house.
“People have been restricted from gathering at houses for a year now so you will get gatherings and that’s when excess consumption of alcohol can lead to domestic abuse.”
DCC Roberts said he was worried about the impact on police officers’ stamina.
“Without being overly pessimistic, we need to be prepared. We shouldn’t forget the impact on staff, they haven’t been able to take leave and we’re going to be placing more burdens on them managing that increased demand.
“People will be out celebrating and it’s very likely our people are going to have an exceptionally busy time as lockdown measures are released. “