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July 4th – don’t tear the pants out of it

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

In addition to its role in helping our Neighbourhood Policing teams canvas the concerns of Chiltern residents, the Forum seeks to encourage our Community to build resilience through residents taking their own actions and responsibility.

Saturday July 4th is an important date in the battle against COVID-19. More than 3 months since the start of ‘lockdown’, a significant easing of conditions is taking place in England.

The headline change is that restaurants and pubs will be allowed to reopen, whilst implementing social distancing measures. Other venues such as cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, campsites, libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open

Unsure what will be allowed from July 4th? Click for Government guidance

Whilst easing conditions, the Government and especially its medical advisers continue to stress that the pandemic is far from over. The institution of a local lockdown in Leicester is a reminder that flare-ups can and almost certainly will happen. If we want to avoid this in our community, we need to avoid irresponsible behaviour and refusing to observe the distancing rules that remain in place. (Think Bournemouth Beach and Durdle Door).

We have recently updated our local crime stats to the end of May – please see graphs below,and our Crime Stats page. It is quite striking that the April stats were generally pretty low, reflecting the first few weeks of lockdown when our streets really were very quiet, the ‘nighttime economy’ was largely absent, and residents had not yet become frustrated or bored by restrictions. However, in May, the figures for Violence and Sexual Offences, Criminal Damage and Arson and Public Order offences all reached the HIGHEST points in our records (since 2017). Reported violence and sexual offences almost doubled between April and May.

We don’t speak for the Police, so do not know the detail behind these figures. We can assume that the violence numbers included significant domestic violence incidents, and Public Order may (or may not) count gatherings in contravention of COVID-19 restrictions.

However, it does not take a great leap to imagine that the reopening of licenced premises and moderation of other restrictions will lead to more such behaviour. When asked at the Forum’s May meeting what he might expect when restrictions on licenced premises were lifted, Insp Richard Vine identified the potential for misbehaviour, and also for further increase in domestic abuse.

When asked about an earlier moderation of lockdown conditions, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam urged the public to be sensible, with the memorable phrase “don’t tear the pants out of it”. We would urge residents, if taking advantage of the easing of restrictions, to ENJOY themselves with sense and good humour. And also, to give the Police cooperation and consideration – they are doing their jobs in not the easiest conditions.

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