A record weekend for 999 calls and a big spike in bad behaviour has seen Devon and Cornwall Police call on communities and tourists to ‘respect our region’.
Top cops say the heatwave and thousands of visitors flocking to the counties sparked ‘unprecedented demand’ and a 67 per cent increase in recorded antisocial antics.
But the force says it has ‘kept performance levels high and managed to cope’.
Saturday and Sunday, August 8 and 9, saw the constabulary receive 2,301 calls to 999 – a 26.5 per cent increase on the same period in 2019.
And up to August 10, this month has already seen 9,622 calls made – significantly up on the 12-month rolling daily average of 718 per day.
The force says there were ‘significant increases’ in antisocial behaviour and public order incidents in Devon and Cornwall over the last weekend.
These included 31 reports of environmental antisocial behaviour – the leaving of rubbish, disposable barbeques and other waste.
There were also 191 reports of nuisance antisocial behaviour and a further 102 of personal antisocial behaviour, often drink-related.
The total equates to a 67 per cent increase on all types of antisocial behaviour when compared to the same period in 2019.
Use of the force’s online webchat has also more than doubled.
Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “We have seen some unprecedented demand at the weekend, particularly in our control rooms, but I am immensely proud how all of our frontline staff have dealt with the plethora of different incidents they have attended.
“While resourcing is undoubtedly a challenge at this time of year, this summer appearing to be more than previous years, we remain buoyant and our communities and visitors alike can be reassured we will do our utmost to protect them and provide a first-class service.
“Our regular officers and staff have been going above and beyond to carry out their duties and have been very ably assisted by our colleagues in the Devon and Cornwall Special Constabulary who have given more than 7,000 hours of voluntary service since June – more than 1,000 shifts supporting frontline duties.”
ACC Colwell added: “We want to welcome tourists safely back in to our communities and support a restart to our essential tourism economy.
“But that needs to be done respectfully by everyone and the levels of ASB recorded over the weekend are unacceptably high.
“We understand people want to enjoy what our region has to offer, but please do this safely and within the law, otherwise police will take proactive enforcement action to protect others.
“August so far has also seen public order crimes up by almost 25 per cent on this time last year. Again, we want people to be able to enjoy the good weather and reopened hospitality sector, but that has to be done responsibly – everyone must accept that personal responsibility and play their part.”
With further good weather expected over the coming weekend and planning already under way for increased numbers over the August bank holiday, ACC Colwell has called on tourists to think before they travel.
He said: “Come safely and prepared to Devon and Cornwall and you will be welcomed.
“Book your accommodation before you travel, drive safely on our roads, respect our coasts and drink responsibly.
“If you are visiting the many outstanding areas of natural beauty we have, take your rubbish away and play your part in making Devon and Cornwall and a safe place for our residents and tourists alike.
“If you do need police support, the 999 service is always there for matters of life and death and serious emergency – we will always be there to assist you.”
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