Police have vowed to crackdown on anti-social behaviour this weekend after heatwave crowds led to violence at parks and beaches across Britain.
Exmouth, in Devon, has been put under special police measures after mass fighting broke out on a beach two days in a row.
A brawl involving 200 people broke out in front of horrified families on Friday evening, with officers being abused and spat at. It followed similar scenes involving 50 youths on Thursday.
Devon and Cornwall Police have vowed to deal with anti-social behaviour ‘robustly’ over the weekend. A dispersal order giving them special powers to break up groups of more than two is in place until Sunday evening.
Mass brawl on Exmouth beach
Dispersal orders mean anyone found causing or likely to cause harassment can be asked to leave and risks arrest if they return within 24 hours.
Kent Police have also issued a dispersal order that applies to most of a seaside town, including the beach, from 4pm on Friday 26 June for 48 hours.
Officers in Whistable said they received a number of reports of people gathering and causing disturbances on the beaches and in the town, including an incident at the harbour ‘involving a large number of young people’.
Special powers have also been granted to give police more powers to tackle anti-social behaviour in parks and green spaces across Derby after seeing a spike in disturbances this week.
In Portsmouth, police have extended a huge dispersal order covering the city’s coastline in a bid to drive back the tide of ‘appalling’ anti-social behaviour.
Meanwhile, Merseyside Police have also threatened to ban people from the city centre after Liverpool fans gathered for a second night to celebrate winning a first Premier League title, despite being asked not to.
Wild celebrations led to glass bottles reportedly being thrown at police and the famous Liver Building catching on fire on Friday evening. A police spokesperson said there had been ‘significant disorder’ overnight but was unable to confirm that bottles had been thrown or the number of people arrested.
10 people were arrested on Thursday night, when crowds of fans sang songs and let off flares outside Anfield, prompting warnings from police concerned about mass gatherings ignoring social distancing measures.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson condemned the scenes but said the council did not have the powers to break up groups.
Merseyside Police has now issued a section 34 dispersal order for the city centre – allowing officers to break up groups of more than two people – until Sunday.
This comes after a ‘major incident’ was declared in Bournemouth on Thursday, the hottest day of the year, after thousands defied public health advice and flocked to the beach.
Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP) said the beach was ‘stretched to the absolute hilt’, leading to fights, gridlocked roads and campers illegally staying there overnight.
50 tonnes of rubbish was cleared up and nearly 1,000 fixed penalty notices for illegally parked cars were issued on Thursday alone.
Packed train on the way to packed beach
Council leader Vikki Slade said there was an ‘unprecedented breakdown in public behaviour’ and urged people to stay away this weekend, when extra patrols will be in place.
The government faced pressure to close beaches amid concerns of a second wave of coronavirus, though Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was ‘reluctant’ to do so as Britons had already experienced a tough lockdown.
Images of beaches on Friday suggested people were heading to warnings in Bournemouth.
Several parts of the UK are set to be hit by storms over the weekend, meaning mass gatherings outdoors are unlikely.
Boris Johnson has previously warned people not to take their gatherings indoors when the weather gets bad, as the risk of the virus transmitting is much higher inside than outside.