Britain will be a ‘more volatile and agitated society’ when it comes out of coronavirus lockdown, senior police officer warns
- Concerns raised about the ‘unintended’ effects of mass unemployment, domestic abuse and mental health issues on society
- Police Superintendents Association (PSA) President said senior officers fear a rise in crime and disorder post-lockdown
- Paul Griffiths said the ‘need for release’ coupled with the lifting of restrictions had sparked fears among officers of a surge in police incidents
- Griffiths also expressed concern that domestic incidents committed during lockdown are not being reported
- UK lockdown has been extended until at least May 7
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Britain will be a ‘more volatile and agitated’ society when it comes out of lockdown, a senior police officer has warned.
With the UK lockdown in place until at least May 7, concerns have been raised about the effects of mass unemployment, abuse inside homes and mental health issues on society when the measures are eventually lifted.
Police Superintendents Association (PSA) President Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths told The Independent senior officers fear a rise in crime and disorder post-lockdown – and urged leaders to engage with communities to quell this.
Police Superintendents Association (PSA) President Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths (pictured September 2019) warns Britain will be a ‘more volatile ‘society after lockdown
He said: ‘My worry is that there will be a whole load of societal impacts from what we have gone through over those months. Those consequences could be a more volatile and agitated society.’
Griffiths said the ‘need for release’ coupled with the lifting of restrictions had sparked fears among officers of a surge in police incidents as people head to pubs bars and restaurants en-masse to celebrate.
Chief Superintendent Griffiths also warned that escalating unemployment could potentially cause an increase in theft incidents.
As the NHS is stretched to breaking point amid the pandemic, mental health services have been affected, with concerns raised that isolation will spark a rise in the number of cases and severity of mental illness.
Senior officers fear a rise in crime and disorder post-lockdown as people seek ‘release’ following the restrictions (pictured – police crash house party in Stockton in April 2020)
The NHS, charities and rehabilitation providers have also seen their work with those battling substance abuse issues come to a grinding halt amid social distancing.
Urging leaders to think of the consequences and ‘unintended consequences’ Griffiths said: ‘The suppression at the moment is clearly done for the right reasons to stop the spread of the disease, but there may be impacts for individual mental health and what then will that mean?’
While figures from the The National Police Chiefs Council revealed crime had dropped 28 per cent in England and Wales in the past month, Griffiths expressed concern that domestic incidents committed during lockdown are not being reported.
He added that victims may choose to wait until lockdown is over to report crimes, amid other reports that people are neglecting to call the emergency services to avoid piling pressure onto health services.
The UK has suffered 120,067 cases and 16,060 deaths, meaning 182 people per 100,000 catch the virus and 24 per 100,000 die from it.
On Sunday, another 596 patients died of the virus, the lowest toll in a fortnight.
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