‘It’s a real unknown’: Police prepare for first weekend of pubs being open

Chief Superintendent David Marshall.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Chief Superintendent David Marshall.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Police are reverting to pre-pandemic levels of Saturday night staffing as they urge those heading out to pubs this weekend to be sensible and respect social distancing.

As pubs, bars and restaurants welcome customers for the first time in more than three months Norfolk police are warning officers will “actively deal” with anyone caught committing an offence.

Chief Superintendent David Marshall from Norfolk Constabulary said while it was “unknown” how many people would head to venues over the weekend, those who do, will be faced with a very different experience to pre-pandemic times.

He said: “It’s a real unknown [how busy it will be], on one hand there’s a view that lots of people are going to go out but having spoken to specific venues, we know that a lot venues aren’t opening because it’s a massive cost issue for them.”

He said venue capacity limits will mean revellers would not be able to move from venue to venue as they normally might something which may cause bottlenecks in areas such as Prince of Wales Road, an issue the force was preparing for.

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“We are used to dealing with the city’s night time economy so although this is a new normal, it’s not unknown.

“We have got the resources out there to cover all the venues that are going to open,” he said.

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Chf Supt Marshall said while the force expected the coming weeks to get busier as venues and the public grew more confident, the question officers were asking was whether “a small number of people” would cause a problem this weekend by “going over the top”.

He said: “We have continued policing through the pandemic, although our policing has changed significantly we have continued doing what we do. We will actively deal with people committing offences, that hasn’t changed.”

Chf Supt Marshall also urged people to be respectful to those who were working, he said: “It will be different and please just be respectful of those who are working in premises because they are going to be in new and different circumstances.”

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