Anger over ‘Covid breaches and people urinating’ at Harbourside

A Bristol Harbourside resident has hit out at crowds appearing to breach lockdown near his home.

The 52-year-old says he saw three or four people urinating in corners while large groups gathered near Broken Dock between 2pm and 5pm yesterday (February 26).

He says he and other residents called police, but claims officers did not attend to disperse the gatherings – which are banned under coronavirus lockdown – for hours.

An Avon and Somerset police spokesman acknowledged there was a delayed response but said officers did disperse people.

“It was starting to build up after lunch,” said the resident, who wishes to remain anonymous.

“From 1pm onwards there were breaches, and it started to look worse and worse. We were listening to people contacting their friends, who were then turning up and saying ‘where are you?’

“The word was spreading round and it was getting bad. People were drinking and there are no public toilets open, so they were peeing in corners and in front of families.

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Crowds on Bristol Harbourside

“I saw at least three or four people doing that. I spoke to a couple of them and said, ‘You shouldn’t be peeing.’

“They said there was nowhere for them to go, and I said, ‘Well it’s lockdown, you shouldn’t be gathering anyway.’”

The local says there were similar scenes last summer but described yesterday afternoon’s crowds as “exceptionally bad”.

He added: “I’m worried those people will go home, tell everyone else it was brilliant and they will be back down again today.”

“The only police that came down was a local beat officer who happened to pass on patrol about 7pm, when it was easing off.

“She was brilliant and really helpful. She said she’d go back to the inspector and discuss a plan for today.

“Police are going to have to do something serious. They need to fine people, not just move them on.”

The force spokesman said police are grateful to members of the public reporting Covid breaches.

“Yesterday, our dedicated Covid enforcement team attended Bristol Harbourside and dispersed a number of people following reports they had gathered in groups,” he added.

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Bristol Harbourside crowds

“We’re aware there was a delay in our attendance for which we’re sorry and we’d like to reassure people we’ve increased patrols in the area this weekend and will continue to monitor the situation.

“More than a thousand reports of COVID breaches have been made to us in the past week and we’ve attended 59.3% of those which have been reported to us over the phone alongside day-to-day operational activity.

“Our message remains to follow the government guidance and stay home to protect the NHS and save lives.”

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