Police chiefs warn pubs will be ‘apocalyptic’ on July 4 if weather stays the same and ‘officers are FURIOUS with Boris Johnson for reopening bars on a Saturday’
- Forces have begun cancelling leave and bolstering public order units
- They fear widespread drunken disorder when pubs reopen on July 4
- They are concerned that violence in Brixton was start of a summer of disorder
They are concerned that the violence in Brixton on Wednesday night could be just the beginning of a summer of disorder
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 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.
‘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.’
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
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.’
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.’