Great Britain

Met police announce Covid crackdown on London’s most infected boroughs as they deploy more cops to catch rule-breakers

THE Met Police has announced a Covid crackdown on London's most infected boroughs as they deploy more cops to catch rule-breakers.

Extra officers will be deployed to Hammersmith and Fulham and Hackney in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus in the capital.

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Cops will target people who make "deliberate, dangerous or flagrant breaches" and put others at risk as part of the crackdown.

The Met Police's Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: "This approach does not mean that other areas of London will see a reduction in existing patrols to clamp down on rule breaking. 

"However, in those areas of London where the transmission rate is at its highest, we will be doing our part to help shut down reckless breaches of the regulations.

"I know the vast majority of Londoners are sticking to the rules which are designed to keep everyone in our communities safe. But, there is a small minority who have a disregard for the health of our communities and it is those individuals who we will be targeting with these new patrols."

Assistant Commissioner Twist said the Met were listening to community feedback during the pandemic.

'This remains under constant assessment and where we see an increase in reported cases we adapt our response to reflect that," he said.

"Extra patrols have, this week, been deployed to Hammersmith and Fulham and Hackney, and we will continue to monitor the reported cases to ensure we are doing all we can, working with our communities, to tackle the further spread of this disease.

"We are now approaching the Halloween weekend; another significant date in the annual calendar for celebrating, which is going to be different this year with parties unable to go ahead as normal.

"As much as the restrictions may seem disheartening, we want to remind people that they are in place for an important reason, to keep everyone safe.

"Whilst continuing to adopt the 4 Es approach, engage, explain, encourage and enforce – those not complying with the restrictions can expect to see officers enforcing the legislation and fines more quickly than previously. 

"People are now much more aware of the regulations and their responsibilities."

CHRISTMAS WARNING

The deployment of extra officers comes as the Government said today that Christmas dinners in lockdown areas could be broken up even if they have fewer than six people present.

Cabinet Minister George Eustice said that even if people were in a group of six - which is the national rule - then they may not be able to meet with other households if they are under extra restrictions in Tier 2 and Tier 3.

At the moment people in the higher tiers - including Greater Manchester, London, parts of Birmingham, South Yorkshire and Liverpool - aren't allowed to mix between households indoors.

That means a family Christmas dinner is off for millions of people unless they already live with them.

Only people living in Tier 1 are allowed to visit others inside their homes, but people in Tier 2 and 3 face £200 fines if they do so.

And the Government will act to stop people from breaking the rules if they have to, the Environment Minister said today.

The PM has yet to say whether the rules will be lifted for the holiday period as he hopes.

The minister said it is "too early to say" how lockdowns could affect festivities, but told LBC this morning: "Obviously if we do need to have restrictions in place, and prevent families from coming together in large gatherings, if that's necessary to control the virus that's what we'll have to do."

Asked on Times Radio if families from different tiers would be able to spend Christmas together, he added this is "not provided for currently".

And he refused to rule out more action later on too - saying "we think we have got the right approach for now."

But behavioural scientists warned people may break the rules anyway.

Professor Susan Michie, a Sage adviser told the BBC earlier: “It seems to me that the social contract with the government over following the rules is likely to break down over Christmas.

“This would be very detrimental to getting out of the pandemic.

"So I think it is worth the government considering a very different approach to Christmas, which is not based on rules – a rule of six that doesn’t fit in to people’s social and family networks."

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