'Significant' police operation in place for pubs reopening, says GMP

Greater Manchester Police is planning for a 'significant' operation across the region's cities and towns to ensure a smooth reopening of pubs this weekend.

All pubs in England will be able to reopen their doors on Saturday 4 July in the latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

The government’s decision to reopen the pubs on a Saturday has been described as ‘downright reckless’ by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling is hoping officers will not have to be deployed to break up trouble and has urged people to behave sensibly.

The senior officer said GMP had been ‘challenged’ in recent weeks after several raves and large public gatherings were held across the city-region.

But he insisted that the force was not ‘going soft’ on enforcing illegal open-air events while the focus shifts onto the reopening of pubs.

DCC Pilling told a press conference on Monday: “People are becoming more bored with the lockdown, the weather is getting warmer, the nightclubs are not opening, and festivals have been cancelled.

“I think people want to go out and generally have a good time so I think we’ll see that on Saturday.

“We’ve got a significant policing operation in place across all of our towns and cities across the pubs and also to prevent all the raves from taking place again.”

It was also stressed that the police ‘could only respond to what has been put in front of them’, with DCC Pilling urging the people of Greater Manchester to ‘come together’.

He added: “Particularly I appeal to the public who are going to go out and about on Saturday night and enjoy those pubs that have been reopened. Please behave sensibly.

“What I’d like is to be sitting here next Monday morning looking back and seeing we had a really good reopening of the pubs without any disorder taking place.”

Mr Burnham, speaking at the same press conference, slammed the government for not sharing their pub reopening plan with local leaders.

He said: “I think it is downright reckless to allow pubs to reopen on a Saturday when the country has been in lockdown

“It’s a Saturday in the summer in the middle of a pandemic. It’s a real concern. “

Mr Burnham also claimed that he had been informed by Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s night time economy adviser, that some operators would not be opening on Saturday and would instead be taking a ‘cautious safety-first approach’.

“I think it’s right to do this carefully and over time,” added Mr Burnham.

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