Record weekend of 999 calls in Devon and Cornwall

From Devon & Cornwall Police:

Devon & Cornwall Police is calling on communities and tourists to respect our region after a weekend which saw record 999 calls and increased levels of anti-social behaviour and public order incidents.

Over Saturday and Sunday, August 8 and 9, 2020, the force saw 2,301 999 calls – compared to 1,819 in the same period for 2019. An increase of 26.5 per cent.

And up to August 10, this month has already seen 9,622 999 calls received – significantly up on the 12 month rolling daily average of 718 999 calls per day.

The force has also seen use of online webchat demand more than double.

Despite the record levels of demand, the force has kept performance levels high and managed to cope with the many thousands of more people in the region during sustained periods of good weather.

The message from police, partner and agencies and tourism bosses is clear – Devon and Cornwall is largely full to current capacity, so book ahead before you travel.

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 & Cornwall Special Constabulary who have given more than 7,000 hours of voluntary service since June – more than 1,000 shifts supporting frontline duties.”

In addition to extra 999 call demand, Devon and Cornwall also saw significant increases in anti-social behaviour and public order incidents over the last weekend.

There were 31 reports of environmental ASB – leaving of rubbish, disposable barbeques and other waste. Also 191 reports of nuisance ASB and a further 102 reports of personal ASB – often drink related. This equates to 67 per cent increase on all types of ASB on the same period in 2019.

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 underway for increased numbers over the August Bank Holiday Weekend, ACC Colwell has called on tourists to think before they travel to our region.

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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