Police across the UK have reported busy New Years shifts – despite the expansion of Covid-19 restrictions across England.
The country’s most populous cities, many of which are at the top level of Level 4, reported little respite from the usual December 31st.
A metropolitan police officer working in east London joked to PA: “When it comes to New Year’s Eve, it’s always like the gates of Hell are opening.” It’s apocalyptic. “
“If you think of anything that could happen, it will happen on New Years Eve.”
There have been multiple road collisions in east London that drew police attention after revelers decided to drive instead of risking using public transport or a taxi.
“Drunk road accidents have taken up a large portion of our time,” the official said.
But he added the troop saw a decrease in bar and street fighting: “It goes without saying that New Year’s Eve is very, very busy.
“Maybe last night was a little less busy than usual, but that means being hit by a car at 30 mph is better than being hit by a car at 35 mph.”
In total, Met officers had 58 unlicensed music venues and party calls across London.
The officer issued 217 Fixed Criminal Reports (FPNs) and another five people were reported to judges for consideration of the highest fine of £ 10,000.
These incidents included a major incident at the Royal Docks in Newham.
There are 44 million people – 78% of England’s population – currently facing the toughest Tier 4 measures, but it was still a manic night for officers.
In Essex, more than £ 18,000 in fines have been handed out to organizers of unlicensed music events. Officials reported that hundreds violated the lockdown rules.
Three people were arrested on suspicion of staging a ticket rave with bars, DJ decks and portaloos in a 500-year-old listed church in Horndon that caused more than £ 1,000 in damage.
Astrid Gillespie, 48, a volunteer with the Friends of All Saints conservation group, said she was “devastated” by the damage to the church and churchyard.
She told the PA news agency, “I love the place, it’s such a beautiful church, and to find out it’s been damaged is devastating. I’m just trying to take care of it.”
Deputy Police Commissioner Andy Prophet thanked everyone who stayed home.
But he added, “Unfortunately, there have been others who have chosen to openly disregard the rules and regulations for coronavirus and ultimately decided that partying is more important than protecting other people.”
Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police opened a murder investigation after an 18-year-old man and a 49-year-old man were stabbed to death just before 3 a.m. at an address in Stantonbury, Milton Keynes.
Both were rushed to the hospital, where the 18-year-old later died while the 49-year-old was in serious but stable condition.
A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and is in police custody.
Elsewhere in England:
– Sussex Police issued a total of 81 FPNs – including five to a group that claimed they drove all the way from London to Brighton to pick up a snack.
– Leicestershire Police handed out 75 FPNs totaling nearly £ 74,000, including six recommendations for fines of £ 10,000.
– The Lancashire Police Department has had a “steady stream” of incidents including the breaking up of an 80-person house party in Hyndburn.
– Merseyside Police have set up a dispersion zone in Liverpool city center between 7:30 p.m. on New Years Eve and 12 noon on Jan 1st after someone tried to organize an illegal street party on social media.
– Northamptonshire Police have filed 150 criminal charges for lockdown violations, including a 50-person event in the village of Cranford near Kettering.
According to Chief Constable Dave Thompson, West Midlands Police also battled lockdown exhaustion as 2020 came to an end.
Mr Thompson tweeted, “I’m afraid some shocking Covid violations at very large house parties. Treated well by the team. It is always a pleasure to spend time with such professional officers. “
In one incident, a Coventry police car was almost certainly written off in the early hours of the morning when it was rammed seven times by a suspected drugged van driver while two officers were inside.
The driver attempted to set off on foot but was cornered and arrested a short distance from the scene.
Other forces got out more easily and Wiltshire Police reported a “calm and peaceful New Year”. It issued around 20 formal warnings to encourage the house parties to disperse.