Police fear one last weekend of carnage as new restrictions loom

Police across the UK fear a weekend of drunken carnage, amid concerns partygoers are planning one last blowout before new coronavirus restrictions come in.

Gatherings of more than six people will be banned across the nation from Monday, as the R Rate officially rises above one for the first time since early March.

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has urged people to avoid a ‘party weekend’, warning his officers will take action if necessary.

He said: ‘There is a real risk some members of the public will take advantage of the current situation and treat this weekend as a party weekend ahead of the tighter restrictions being introduced on Monday.

‘Alcohol and warm weather are not a good combination at the best of times. Using the current situation as an opportunity and excuse to party would be incredibly irresponsible and put pressure not only on policing, but potentially on the ambulance service and NHS.

‘We are in the grip of a deadly pandemic and we have seen cases increasing over recent weeks. Policing is under pressure like never before, but my colleagues will give enforcement notices if they feel it’s appropriate, and we make no apology for doing so.’

A senior police representative in West Yorkshire has also voiced concerns that illegal raves are ‘getting out of hand’ in the area – despite organisers facing fines of up to £10,000.

Speaking to Sky News, Brian Booth, Chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said his officers are ‘having several cases every weekend of these illegal raves’.

He said: ‘We try and get in quick and deal with them but we can’t stop them all. I can say simply that the police just do not have the resources to keep everyone in line.

‘We’ve never been as busy. We’re as busy as before Covid came along, then you put the impact of Covid on top of policing. We’re just keeping our heads above the water.’

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation has warned gatherings will be ‘closely monitored’ as the UK expects good weather this weekend.

He said: ‘I hope people are going to be sensible. It’s all new and very rapid, the speed that it’s changing… we’ve just got to go with it and hope we can keep control and the public understand what is required.’

The new ‘rule of six’ is expected to be in place for at least the next three months, sources claim.

Boris Johnson is said to be facing a Tory revolt after Nicola Sturgeon announced Scotland’s limit on gatherings of six people does not include children.

It comes after Matt Hancock was slammed after claiming young people could be blamed for a potential second wave.

The health secretary was also heavily criticised after he said too many asymptomatic people had been booking tests on Wednesday.

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