Police chief welcomes pubs reopening as way to combat illegal gatherings
West Midlands Police's top officer has welcomed the return of pubs as a way of reducing illegal gatherings.
Chief Constable Dave Thompson welcomed the eased restrictions as a way to help young people meet in a safe environment.
It comes after a series of illegal gatherings across the West Midlands have been shut down by police.
Mr Thompson said: "The hospitality sector has been closed for too long and it's a vibrant part of the region.
"We want to support that and we accept young people have not had many things open to go – they want to go out and meet with others as lockdown eases.
"They will welcome this chance and it will help us – due to illegal raves, car cruising and BBQs taking place, there's clearly a desire to come together and that can be done safely at licensed premises. That will help us."
Mr Thompson said there was a police operation under way today in town and city centres across the West Midlands to ensure everyone remained safe.
"The police is about preventing crime and disorder and we want to have eyes and ears on the ground to make sure licensing premises' are operating as they should be.
"But we will be making a very supportive shout to a sector facing a huge number of uncertainties and we want to support that aspect of normality which may people are looking forward to.
"We recognise the pandemic issues are not fully resolved."
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson also welcomed the return of the sector – but stressed it could be the "busiest" day of the year for the force.
Mr Jamieson added: "What this could end up being is one of the busiest days of the year so far. And we've been prepping and I want to thank the Chief Constable and his team and the licensees for the work they have done."
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