‘Be prepared to face the consequences’ – police warn lockdown flouters
Written by on 4 November 2020
Police chiefs have warned they will clamp down heavily on anyone flouting restrictions during the new national pandemic lockdown.
They are also threatening to increase pursuit of those who are caught breaking coronavirus rules and refuse to pay fines.
A joint statement from chief constables across the North West, much of which is already subject to severe Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions, said: “Sadly we have seen a minority right across the North West who seem incapable of demonstrating any civic responsibility and complying with the regulations.
“We know from focus groups and regional insight work the majority of the public would wish to see the police service taking a consistent and robust approach to enforcement.
“To the minority who feel the restrictions don’t apply to them, be prepared to face the consequences of greater levels of enforcement.
“We will collectively target those who flout the restrictions, particularly those organising large gatherings and music events, repeatedly holding parties or deliberately causing harm to our communities by not following the restrictions, such as self-isolating where necessary.”
New limitations on the public’s movements in England are expected to begin on Thursday after a vote in Parliament.
In an open letter, the chief constables of Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside said a “significant proportion” of those who have been issued with fixed penalty notices so far “think they can ignore them”.
They wrote: “We are therefore seeking support from government and the Judiciary to consider how we bring these people to justice rapidly.”
From the start of the first lockdown in March until three weeks ago, police forces in England and Wales had issued more than 20,000 fines. Six weeks ago, police chiefs reported that half the fines had not been paid.
In London, the Metropolitan police have warned people not to break existing Tier 2 rules on a final night out on Wednesday before the widespread month-long closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: “For the rest of today, we remain in the ‘high alert’ level restrictions, and I know there will be many people thinking about whether they should head out tonight to support the hospitality sector before it closes.
“It is hugely important that people who are going out, stick to the current regulations and do not see tonight as an excuse for other gatherings or parties that are illegal, and could ultimately put other people’s lives at risk.
“It is vitally important that we’re all sensible, use common sense and stick to the rules. By working together, we can help prevent the spread of this deadly virus which has already claimed so many lives.
“Tonight, we will have more officers on duty to engage with the public and ensure that we all continue to keep each other safe.
“We are ready and prepared to take enforcement action against those who are deliberately breaching rules and putting people at risk.”