“Thousands” of people were spotted gathering in Soho with pictures appearing to show Britons struggling to abide by social distancing rules. It comes as Federation chief John Apter said while on duty in Southampton he had dealt with “naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks”. He said it was “crystal clear” revellers would not adhere to the one metre plus rule as restrictions were eased on Saturday.
He added: “It was a busy night but the shift managed to cope.
“I know other areas have had issues with officers being assaulted.”
Arrests were made across the country and several pubs were shut down amid the chaos.
Rafal Liszewski, a store manager at Clonezone on Soho’s Old Compton Street in London described crowds in the area on Saturday night after pubs were allowed to trade again as “out of control”.
The 36-year-old said: “Saturday started very easy. But you could feel tension in the air.
“Around 1pm crowds started to arrive.
“Quickly everything got out of control and by 8-9 pm it was a proper street party with people dancing and drinking.
“Barely anyone was wearing masks and nobody respected social distancing.
“To be honest with that many people on one street it was physically impossible.”
Marc Foley-Comer said the bars he went to in Soho on Saturday night had “excellent safety measures” and social distancing in place, but the scenes outside resembled London’s Pride celebrations.
“It was packed. It was like it was Pride – and very chaotic and people were pretty drunk but the police were in force and doing a good job,..
“We decided to leave as it was too busy and too risky still – there was no social distancing.”
More to follow…