‘Super Saturday’ in North Devon was no worse than a busy summer evening, police have said.
The feared chaos as visitors flocked to the region and pubs and restaurants reopened as lockdown restrictions eased did not materialise.
Forcewide, Devon and Cornwall Police reported more than 1,600 999 calls and around the same number of non-emergency calls – in line with what would be expected for a busy summer weekend.
North and West Devon Superintendent Toby Davies said they were expecting possibly their busiest summer ever as people take their holidays in the UK.
Of ‘Super Saturday’, he said: “Numbers of people out was under what you would expect for this time of year pre-Covid; that said the weather was not great, not all establishments were open and the tourists are only starting to come in.
“From what my teams saw, the vast majority of people out and about had a great evening and the majority of establishments had put in significant effort to ensure they met the guidance.”
He said there were some problems with alcohol-related disorder, but they were the exception.
A licensed premises in Barnstaple was encouraged to close early because of problems with disorder.
Looking ahead to what could be a hectic summer, he said: “Tourism is an integral part of our culture and economy, and with those increasing levels, we are taking proactive steps to manage the likely rising demand and ensure a robust visible presence across our area.
“We will be working collaboratively with our partners over the summer to manage this extra demand and continue to provide the best service we can to our communities.
“Naturally, at peak times, we will prioritise the most vulnerable of threat, risk and harm and most in need of our help and support. During peak periods, our teams will also be providing extra patrols to our coastal towns and villages, beauty spots and beaches.
“The message to visitors is that we are pleased to welcome you to our area, please enjoy what we have to offer, whilst at the same time respecting our resident communities and protecting our environment so that everyone can enjoy our beautiful outside spaces.”
Across the region, Devon and Cornwall Police has thanked the public for playing their part as the tourism and hospitality industry began to reopen.