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Expect ‘a lot of police on the streets’ this weekend as pubs reopen

Police given power to enter pubs and fine people breaking social distancing rules

Met Police chief Dame Cressida Dick said they had been planning for the July 4 date ‘for some time; (Picture:Getty)

Met Police chief Dame Cressida Dick has said there will be extra officers on duty in case violence flares when pubs reopen in much of England on Saturday.

She said Britain’s largest police force has been planning for July 4 ‘for some time’ and that the public will see ‘a lot’ of officers on London streets.

The Commissioner told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘We’re planning, we’ve got extra resources in place, we’re talking to people in every way we can think of, we are absolutely prepared.

‘You will see a lot of police officers out on the street. There will be a lot more ready should people be out of order, should people get violent. But I’m not predicting that at this stage.’

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London has seen tensions flare during recent protests and a number of unlicensed music events.

Dame Cressida said: ‘We have seen over recent weeks feelings have been running high in a number of areas for lots of different reasons.

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‘Coming out of lockdown, the events after the death of George Floyd. Lots of people are quite cross about a lot of things, and we are seeing people out on the streets and not always observing social distancing.

‘My message is, if you’re coming out on Saturday, be calm, be sensible. Look after yourself, look after your family.

‘We are still in a global pandemic which is affecting this country very obviously. People need to be sensible.’

The warning comes as even harsher restrictions are set to be imposed in Leicester following a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the city.

Non-essential shops will be closed from Tuesday, the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks to shift focus to the recovery from the pandemic with a multi-billion pound ‘new deal’ for infrastructure projects.

Rising numbers of cases in the East Midlands city – 10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week – mean the planned easing of restrictions on Saturday will not take place alongside the rest of England, with people advised against all but essential travel.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said Leicester’s seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000 – three times that of the next highest city.

While the exact area impacted is not expected to be made clear until later on Tuesday, Mr Hancock said Leicester and the surrounding conurbation including Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield would be included.

Local authority boundaries will complicate deciding which areas to include in the heightened restrictions, with parts of Oadby to Leicester’s south east and Birstall to the city’s north overseen by Leicestershire County Council.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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