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Dorset Police have called on the public to act responsibility as the county’s pubs reopen on Saturday for the first time since the lockdown and as the area prepares for an influx of visitors.

Indeed, an initial police statement from Chief Constable James Vaughan said that pub goers would be ‘restricted to two hours in an establishment’.

However, that statement was quickly amended to ‘may be restricted to the amount of time you can spend in an establishment’.

A police spokesperson pointed out: ‘This is in relation to government guidance that has been shared with restaurants and pub landlords to consider. Neither Devon and Cornwall Police, nor Dorset police, will be monitoring how long people remain within a pub; this sits with individual licensees if they wish to introduce measures that limit how long a customer remains within their establishment.’

But the chief constable nevertheless said the public needed to be sensible in their approach.

‘Everyone, whether you are a visitor or a resident, has 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,’ said Mr Vaughan.

‘Just because we are coming out of lockdown it is not an excuse to drink irresponsibly, fight or act in a way likely to bring harm to yourself and others. It will not be tolerated and police will take proactive action to deal with this kind of unacceptable behaviour.

‘We have a strong collaboration with our partners and will do everything possible to keep those in the county safe – but that needs common sense and respect from all.’

Throughout the last week there have been reports of a surge in bookings across hotels, bed and breakfasts and campsites and this coincides with the re-opening of the day and night time economy on Saturday.

Dorset Police say demand on police and other emergency services is expected to see a considerable increase from this weekend and for the rest of the summer season – likely to stretch well into September.

james vaughan
Dorset chief constable James Vaughan.

Calls to 999 and 101 increase by 10 and 14 per cent respectively during the summer season and officers and staff will be prioritising this increased demand according to threat, risk, harm and vulnerability – some less urgent matters may take longer to attend.

There will be more officers on patrol across the region with greater visibility and reassurance to communities throughout the summer period – particularly in areas such as Weymouth and Bournemouth that seeing some of the largest swells in population.

Chief Constable Vaughan added: ‘Our licensed industry will re-open on Saturday, but it will be a very different experience for those going to a pub or restaurant.

‘You are very likely to have to book your visit and may be restricted to the amount of time you can spend in an establishment. We want people to enjoy that experience, but be patient and prepared to have to plan – a walk-up visit to a pub may not be possible for some weeks.’

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