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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Danny Rigg

City streets to be flooded with police ahead of 'Freedom Day'

Merseyside Police will be increasing the number of officers patrolling Liverpool city centre as bars and nightclubs reopen from Monday, July 19.

The government is lifting almost all remaining coronavirus restrictions from Monday on what is being dubbed 'Freedom Day'. People will be allowed to dance in nightclubs for the first time since March 2020.

Police in Liverpool have already stepped up patrols, with a 24-hour presence in areas with bars and premises selling alcohol, in response to a series of violent homophobic and transphobic attacks in Liverpool city centre.

READ MORE: Chris Whitty warns England could be back in lockdown within weeks

Most recently, a 24-year-old, from Belfast, feared he would die as he was battered and called homophobic slurs on Bold Street in the early hours of Saturday, July 10.

Several arrests have been made in relation to these attacks, branded by the police as 'unacceptable'.

A spokesman for the force said: "As England moves out of lockdown next week and with good weather expected this weekend, we would like to reassure the public that high visibility police patrols will continue across Merseyside to help keep everyone safe.

"Due to a number of unacceptable incidents of violence and hate crime against LGBT+ people in recent weeks, police presence has been stepped up in areas where people are expected to visit bars and licenced premises. There will continue to be a 24-hour police presence in Liverpool City Centre."

He added: "Nightclubs and other venues will be allowed to reopen from Monday 19 July. Merseyside Police has a robust plan in place to further increase the number of officers on patrol in connection with this reopening."

In a statement shared with the ECHO, Chief Inspector Matthew Moscrop, from the Liverpool Community Policing team, said: "Over the last few weeks, town centres have become busier across Merseyside as people have enjoyed visiting bars and licenced premises.

"We expect this to continue ahead of July 19 and throughout the summer, and we will be working proactively with partners across the City Region to ensure this runs smoothly.

"We will continue to speak to businesses and licensed premises, as well as members of the public, to help make sure everyone feels comfortable and safe in busy areas.

"After such a long time without our usual freedoms to meet friends and family in venues across Merseyside, it’s understandable that some people may feel daunted to be out in busy areas again. If you're out and feeling this way, please do approach our officers for advice or support.

"One thing we certainly don't want is people feeling apprehensive about going out as they're worried they might face threats or violence due their sexual orientation, gender identity, or for any other reason. I hope that the arrests we have made following recent hate crimes in Liverpool City Centre show that police will not tolerate this behaviour under any circumstances.

"Enjoy the weekend. Remember, this doesn't mean Covid has gone away, so meet others outside if you can, keep your distance where possible, and get tested for reassurance or if you have any symptoms. Masks are still mandatory this weekend unless you're exempt, so don't forget yours if you do go out."

"Report a crime by calling 101 or via our website: Don’t forget, reports that are not urgent can be made via @MerPolCC on Twitter or 'Merseyside Police Contact Centre' on Facebook.

"Always call 999 in an emergency."

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