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Met Cracks Down on Those Breaking Lockdown Rules

Published on: 6 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 8 Jan, 2021

Met police officer – Photo BBC

Londoners breaching new Covid lockdown rules are increasingly likely to face fines, the Metropolitan Police have warned.

Although officers will still apply the four Es approach of engaging, explaining, encouraging and enforcing, unlike Surrey Police the Met has instructed officers to issue fines more quickly to anyone committing obvious, willful and serious breaches.

Anyone caught at parties, unlicensed music events or large illegal gatherings can expect fines, not just the organisers of such events. Similarly, those not wearing masks where they should be and without good reason can expect fines.

And with fewer “reasonable excuses” for people to be away from home now, Londoners out and about can expect officers to ask them why. Those without a lawful reason to be out can expect quick enforcement.

Local officers will also be working with council colleagues across the capital in a partnership approach to help ensure businesses and people using public spaces such as parks or the retail spaces still open are following the rules.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, who leads the Met’s response to the Covid pandemic, said: “After 10 months of this pandemic, the number of people genuinely not aware of the restrictions and the reasons they are in place is vanishingly small.

“We know the overwhelming majority of Londoners will do the right thing by staying at home, wearing masks and not gathering, but a small minority continue to ignore rules put in place to protect the NHS and save lives.

“Our first duty as police officers is to preserve life. The critical situation our NHS colleagues are facing and the way the new virus variant moves through communities, means we can no longer spend our time explaining or encouraging people to follow rules where they are wilfully and dangerously breaching.

“Less than a month ago, we launched a new digital fines system which makes it quicker and easier for officers to issue fines on the spot. Since its launch more people have been reported for fines than in the rest of the year combined.

“This is also an indicator of a worsening position in the epidemic, and officers stepping in more quickly to try to keep communities safe.

“I hope it is not necessary for this particular trend to carry on but if people continue to break the rules, putting themselves, their families and their communities at greater risk, our officers are ready to act robustly.

“This is why Londoners must take action now to stop this virus spreading further across our city. Action now by everyone will help reduce the time our capital must live with these restrictions and crucially, will prevent more people from dying needlessly because of this virus. It’s up to us all to do the right thing.”

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