Blue Light Services join forces to call for respect and safety this weekend

Members of the public are reminded to enjoy themselves responsibly, drink in moderation and respect blue light personnel, according to a statement issued today by representatives for the emergency services.

The announcement comes in advance of Saturday 4 July, when further lockdown restrictions will be relaxed in parts of the UK. Venues such as pubs, bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen, providing that they comply with Government guidance on social distancing.

Other leisure facilities and amenities – including outdoor gyms, cinemas and social clubs – will also be allowed to reopen.

The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) jointly remind the public that Coronavirus remains a significant threat to public health and members of the public should take appropriate precautions to ensure their safety.

In addition, the three bodies stress that violence against emergency services personnel will not be tolerated in any form. Prosecutions will follow for those who assault emergency service workers.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt QPM said:

We know that the public will feel a sense of relief that things are slowly getting back to normal and will want to take this new opportunity to enjoy themselves with their friends and family. We want everyone to have a good time but please do so safely, responsibly, and with due regard for the public health measures in place.

Coronavirus still presents a significant and deadly threat to public health. Don’t be a drain on the emergency services by drinking too much or through anti-social behaviour. Please also reassess your plans if you arrive somewhere and establish that social distancing isn’t achievable.

Working closely with local authorities, businesses and within communities, police forces will have the appropriate plans and resources in place to make sure the public can go about their business safely.

“In the past week, we have seen a number of public gatherings where police officers have been physically attacked. Assaulting any member of the emergency services when they are working for the good of us all is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We will always seek to prosecute against those who assault officers.

AACE Chair, Professor Anthony Marsh, said:

We are encouraging people to drink responsibly, to eat before they drink alcohol and to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. To continue to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, people should continue to wash their hands regularly and maintain social distancing.

“We are also asking people to think before they dial 999 – is it really a life-threatening emergency? We urge members of the public to contact the emergency services only where there is a genuine need. Calling 999 when it is unnecessary means those staff and vehicles are then unable to respond to critically ill patients, or those in need of our Fire and Police colleagues. Most of the time a pharmacy, your GP or 111, are more appropriate options than 999. People should only dial 999 in a genuine emergency.

NFCC Chair, Roy Wilsher, said:

Many people will want to take advantage of the easing of lockdown restrictions, and the good weather, by spending this weekend outdoors with their friends and families. I want to remind people that they need to continue to socialise in a socially responsible manner, taking precautions to ensure that everyone stays safe and well. Public gatherings can pose a variety of risks, not least with regards to fire. Higher temperatures, along with alcohol and barbecues, can cause fire hazards. I urge everyone to observe prevention and safety measures.

“The public can help relieve the pressure on the fire service, and our police and ambulance colleagues, by drinking sensibly, looking out for the safety of themselves, their family and friends, and by pre-planning how they will travel home safely. We would also urge businesses which are reopening to ensure their fire safety checks and risk assessments have been revisited and are up-to-date, especially where venues are operating with fewer staff. The safety of the public is paramount.

A PDF version of this statement is available here.

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