Police chief tells public it is your ‘civic duty’ to report neighbours who are breaking coronavirus lockdown rules
- Merseyside police chief condemns ‘sneering culture’ against people who tip off cops
- Figures show 20,000 on-the-spot fines have been issued under emergency laws
- Andy Cooke says information you can give in relation to breaches will save lives
Members of the public have a ‘civic duty’ to report neighbours and businesses breaching coronavirus restrictions, a police chief said last night.
Merseyside Chief Constable Andy Cooke condemned the ‘sneering culture’ against people who tip off police about rule-breakers.
It comes as figures showed more than 20,000 on-the-spot fines have now been issued under the emergency laws since March.
This aerial view shows the rave near the village of Banwen in August. South Wales Police had been trying to disperse the rave when around 3,000 people congregated at a former opencast coalmine
Merseyside Police of Chief Constable Andy Cooke condemned the ‘sneering culture’ against people who tip off police about rule-breakers
Mr Cooke said: ‘People are doing a civic duty in contacting us for the right reasons.
‘The vast majority of people across the country are really concerned about this. Any information that you can give us in relation to breaches will save lives, and that’s why people are doing it.’
While Martin Hewitt, National Police Chiefs Council chairman, said there would be ‘quicker enforcement’ of ‘blatant’ rule breaches.
For example, officers who are called to a large party in a private house or garden would give people a chance to leave but fines would be issued if they refused. The organisers ‘would be dealt with every time’, he said.
He said ‘flagrant breaches’ likely to attract fines included pubs serving past 10pm.
Mr Hewitt said: ‘With those kind of egregious breaches, which are putting everybody at risk, it is perfectly legitimate for a member of public to share that share that information.’
The NPCC figures showed 20,223 fines for breaching coronavirus restrictions were issued by police in England and Wales between March 27 and October 19, two-thirds of which went to under-35s.
The total included 980 on-the-spot penalties for breaching local lockdown laws.
Mr Hewitt refused to speculate on how police would deal with family gatherings at Christmas – and urged people not to begin making plans for the festive period.
He also urged people to make sure they understand the Covid rules in whichever part of the country they spend the Christmas holidays.
‘It is not very sensible at this stage when we’re a couple of months away from there and we can all see how fast moving this is,’ he said.
Hundreds of students at Exeter University attended outdoor parties until 2am over the weekend of September 19
‘Wherever you are in the country at any point – but certainly at Christmas as well – then I would advocate that everybody needs to understand precisely what the regulations are that relate to their parts of the country.
‘You need to really understand what the rules are at the time.
‘From two months out it’s probably too early to start, I would say, making huge plans because because you just don’t know what those regulations are going to be at that point in time.
‘But I would encourage everyone to abide by the regulations because they are there to protect people.’
There have been 399 fines handed out for breaching the ‘Rule of Six’, which has limited gatherings indoors or out since September 14.
A further 66 fines have been issued for large gatherings such as illegal raves and parties, carrying a £10,000 penalty.
Ravers were at the illegal party for more than a day near the the village of Banwen. Around 70 officers, assisted by Dyfed-Powys Police and the British Transport Police, were called out to the wood to execute a dispersal order
In all, 258 fixed penalties have been handed out for failing to wear a face mask on public transport or in public buildings such as shops.
And 47 fines have been given to businesses for failing to comply with rules such as the 10pm curfew.
More than 1,000 people who should have been self-isolating after entering the UK from abroad could not be traced by the police, the figures showed.
Officers calling to carry out checks found 380 people had given the wrong address so they could not be found, and another 629 were out when officers attended and so also faced no further police action.