“Unbelievably reckless” disorder during lockdown


Like something out of the wild west

Public service leaders in Bedfordshire have urged people to come forward with information after an ‘unbelievably reckless’ disorder involving more than a dozen people.

Police received reports at around 5.40pm on Easter Sunday, April 12, of a number of men fighting with weapons in the Sheridan Road and Argyll Avenue area of Luton.

No one involved in the brawl reported the incident to police, but it was captured on video by neighbours. The footage has been circulated online.

It came on the day Bedfordshire Police logged 714 incidents – the highest number recorded in a single day by the force for 22 years.

This included almost 300 reports of people breaching the regulations around the coronavirus lockdown.

Cllr Hazel Simmons MBE, Leader of Luton Council said: “It’s extremely disheartening to see that whilst the majority of people in Luton are playing their part in the fight against coronavirus by following the rules, some are flagrantly flouting them. 

“We’re all having to make huge changes to our day-to-day lives in order to help stop the spread of the virus.

“This group’s thoughtless and selfish behaviour has not only endangered lives by the act itself, but there is a chance they have put their own loved ones in danger.

“We encourage anyone who has any knowledge of the event to get in contact with the police immediately.”

Bedfordshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for serious violence, added: “This sort of behaviour is unacceptable at any time, but is unbelievably reckless given the current climate.

“We are in a national emergency where the vast majority of people across Bedfordshire are sacrificing time with their families and friends in order to stop the spread of this virus, protecting the NHS and saving lives in the process.

“For these men to completely disregard that in order to have a fight in the middle of the street in broad daylight just beggars belief, frankly.

“Not only did their behaviour put them at risk of serious injury in the disorder, but they are also vulnerable to being infected by this deadly coronavirus and spreading it to their loved ones.

“This is not to mention the potential consequences their actions could have placed on already stretched public services like the NHS, as well as policing.

“I would urge anyone who knows anything about this incident or those involved to please come forward with information, to us directly or anonymously via Crimestoppers if they would prefer.”

Bedfordshire Police has been successful in tackling gangs, serious violence and organised crime in the county over the past 12 months.

Government funding has enabled the force to run more than 100 patrols targeting gang hotspots; almost £1.8 million of drugs were seized from dealers across 2019, while the force is investing in the county’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit to take a public health approach in tackling the root causes of the issue, alongside partner agencies such as councils and healthcare.

Bedfordshire Police would particularly like to hear from eye witnesses, people with dash cam footage or anybody who recorded the incident.

Anyone with any information about Sunday’s incident is asked to contact police on 101 or visit bedfordshire.police.uk/report

Please quote crime reference 40/20836/20.

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via Crimestoppers-uk.org