Priti Patel condemned the assault against 30 officers who were hurt while shutting down an illegal rave, pockets of violence at a Black Lives Matter demonstration and counter-protests including by far-right activists in recent weeks.
Ms Patel said there were 30,000 assaults on police last year and that she will be pushing to double sentences for attacks on emergency service workers.
She added the number of protests and parties as coronavirus emergency measures are eased is "growing".
"I would urge people not to participate in gatherings of that nature or protest," she told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
"If people do assault police officers, they will face the full force of the law. That is absolutely the right approach.
"It is simply unacceptable to have people gathering in some of these awful ways we've been seeing."
Ms Patel denied some may feel they were given licence to ignore the rules by the prime minister defending his chief aide Dominic Cummings for making a 30-minute trip police say may have broken the rules to allegedly test his eyesight while everyone was being told to "stay at home".
"Of course it's not" true, she said. "That issue has been and gone."
Appealing to beachgoers not to pack on to seafronts and break social distancing rules, the home secretary added: "The public need to think about other people as well in terms of spreading the virus.
"They themselves may not know they're carrying the virus and they could be spreading that within the community and passing that on to other people
"We all have to take responsibility, we all have to act conscientiously."
But the UK government came under fire from Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, who accused Boris Johnson of telling people "it's all over and you can go back to doing what you did before".
He claimed the policy in England was to make announcements first, then figure out how to make them work, but "we will continue to do things in the way we've done things in Wales - carefully, cautiously, one step at a time".
Sir Mark Walport, a former chief scientific adviser, did say ministers in Whitehall "have been listening to the science throughout".
But when asked if lockdown came too late, said: "History will probably show that it did."