Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman says pent-up frustration and anger over months of lockdown was to blame for the violence which shamed Huddersfield town centre today (Sat).
Parts of Huddersfield town centre were sealed off in the early hours and police cordons were put in place in John William Street, Railway Street and St George’s Square after three men were assaulted in the early hours.
The disorder took place as revellers took to the town to enjoy the first Friday night out since lockdown restrictions were eased as part of Freedom Day.
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One cafe owner described the atmosphere in town as “poisonous last night, gangs of feral youths in every shadow.”
Another town centre landlord, Mark Robertson of Plumbers Arms said he had been aware of an edgy atmosphere most of the night with a lot more young people out than usual.
Barry Sheerman MP for Huddersfield
The veteran Labour MP said: “I have picked up from colleagues that this kind of thing has happened up and down the country. Huddersfield is not alone in experiencing this sort of thing.
“There have been tensions in many young people after months of lockdown and this sort of behaviour has occurred in various towns and cities though any violence is to be abhorred.
“Hopefully we will get to see the police adopt a far higher level of presence so that people can relax in the town centre and not fear any harm.
“This was unfortunate and regrettable but let’s get through this. Let’s get some extra police out there and see what can be done.
“I always condemn violence but I do understand there’s a lot of frustration coming out in the form of violence in our towns.”
Ian Snowball at his sports bar Showtime next door to The Colosseum
(Image: Reach PLC)
Ian Snowball, who runs the Showtime bar on Zetland Street, also spoke about the amount of pent-up frustration amongst young people in the town.
He said: “When we first opened up on July 4, 2020, after the first lockdown, no one in the pub sector knew what to expect, we all just knew it was going to be a new experience.
“Up until then we had never had any doormen or fights in our venue but we knew that Verve, probably the roughest pub in town had just closed down, a number of pubs weren’t going to open straight away, there was a high probability they were all going to come to our venue and there was going to be a lot of pent up feelings on the night.
“So we called in doormen to be there from open to close and sure enough, they all came and we had four flare-ups throughout the day.
“We also wanted everyone who came in to walk through metal detectors just to send out the message that we were not prepared to let our venue fall into the trap others had in regard to letting knives through the door.
“About a month ago, we started to hear rumours that there were a couple of groups who were bringing knives into town, we thought it was all paranoia, but in order to put our customers’ and staff’s minds at rest, we put in a walk through metal detector as a precaution and watched how people reacted.
“During the first two weeks, when we watched everyone entering, only one person stopped short of coming in when they saw the metal detector and not a single knife or blade was found.”
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