Influx of visitors putting 'unprecedented' demand on Devon and Cornwall police

In response to the record 999 calls, Devon and Cornwall Police is calling on communities and tourists to respect the region .

Devon and Cornwall Police is asking tourists to "respect the region" after an influx of visitors has put "unprecedented" demand on emergency services.

One officer said the region is now "largely full to capacity" and is urging those wanting to holiday in the area to make sure they book before they travel South.

The number of calls made to the force on the weekend of 8 and 9 August increased by 26.5% on the same two days last year, when it recorded just over 1,800.

The force said the challenges last weekend were largely a result of events spurred on by the hot weather.

There were several reports of environmental anti-social behaviour including people using disposable barbecues and littering.

Other reports of anti-social behaviour were more often than not related to alcohol use, the force said.

In August Devon and Cornwall Police took around 962 calls per day, which is a substantial increase on its usual 718.

In response, the force said the region is "largely full to current capacity" and is reminding visitors to book ahead before travelling.

There was 31 reports of environmental anti-social behaviour – leaving of rubbish, disposable barbecues and other waste. Credit: ITV News West Country

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell said, “We want to welcome tourists safely back in to our communities and support a restart to our essential tourism economy.

“But that needs to be done respectfully by everyone and the levels of ASB recorded over the weekend are unacceptably high.

"We understand people want to enjoy what our region has to offer, but please do this safely and within the law, otherwise police will take proactive enforcement action to protect others.

“August so far has also seen public order crimes up by almost 25% on this time last year.

"Again, we want people to be able to enjoy the good weather and reopened hospitality sector, but that has to be done responsibly – everyone must accept that personal responsibility and play their part.”

The force received a total of 2,301 emergency calls compared to 1,819 on the same weekend in 2019.

ACC Colwell has called on tourists to think before they travel to our region.

He added: "Come safely and prepared to Devon and Cornwall and you will be welcomed.

“Book your accommodation before you travel, drive safely on our roads, respect our coasts and drink responsibly.

“If you are visiting the many outstanding areas of natural beauty we have, take your rubbish away and play your part in making Devon and Cornwall and safe place for our residents and tourists alike.

“If you do need police support, the 999 service is always there for matters of life and death and serious emergency – we will always be there to assist you.”