DORSET Police dealt with nearly 400 999 calls on Saturday 4 July after the hospitality industry opened up following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

The police has been planning extensively with partners throughout lockdown for restrictions to be eased and preparing for the reopening of the hospitality industry. Despite the high number of 999 calls, the police has thanked the community and visitors for contributing to what was, largely, a peaceful weekend.

Chief Constable James Vaughan said: "I am very grateful that most people seemed to have taken on board our plea to come back safely and to respect, protect and enjoy our communities. We had extra patrols throughout the county and officers widely engaged with people out and about and businesses.

"Thankfully, on Saturday we saw a decrease in incidents, with 485 recorded compared with the previous day of 491. However, we dealt with more 999 calls – 379 were recorded on Saturday, which was an increase when compared to the seven-day average of 320 calls.

"Sadly, on Sunday our officers still had to deal with two very serious incidents on our roads. Following a collision in Verwood a motorcyclist was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and we arrested a man on suspicion of driving offences. Tragically, on Sunday evening a London man aged in his 30s lost his life in a collision in Wool involving three vehicles.

"I hope that the coming weeks will continue to follow the trend we have seen this weekend. However, we are aware that it is expected that far more people will choose to holiday within the UK over the summer months, which is likely to impact especially on coastal areas like Dorset. Therefore, we are not complacent and will continue to work closely with our partner agencies to ensure we have the necessary resources in place.

"My message to everyone, whether you are a visitor or a resident, remains that you have a duty to act responsibly and not to become involved in drink related anti-social behaviour or leave your rubbish to litter our beautiful region. If we all act responsibly, we can all enjoy a safe summer."

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill added: "In the build-up to this weekend we asked members of the public to enjoy our reopened pubs, bars and hospitality sector, but to do so safely and responsibly. I’m very pleased to say that the vast majority of people seem to have taken this message on board over this weekend.

"I’d like to thank the public for behaving in a way that respects our communities, and ask them to please continue acting responsibly throughout the rest of the summer."


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