How will Covid-19 rules be enforced this Christmas?
PUBLISHED: 13:26 30 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:57 30 October 2020
Sarah Lucy Brown
Suffolk police has said it is unable to confirm how many coronavirus restrictions will be enforced over Christmas until the force knows exactly which rules will apply to the county during the festive period.
The force responded after the West Midlands police and crime commissioner said this week that his officers would be cracking down on Covid-19 rule breakers – with Christmas Day coming as no exception.
David Jamieson warned that people’s Christmas family celebrations could be broken up by police if they flout coronavirus rules.
Mr Jamieson said: “If we think there’s large groups of people gathering where they shouldn’t be, then police will have to intervene. If, again, there’s flagrant breaking of the rules, then the police would have to enforce.”
Asked about how any restrictions would be enforced in Suffolk over Christmas, a spokesman for the county’s force said it could not anticipate what tier the area would be in or what rules may be in place over the festive period.
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Suffolk police has been using the ‘engage, explain, encourage, enforce’ model in its approach to coronavirus restrictions, with the force dishing out 262 fixed penalty notices relating to Covid-19 rules between March 27 and September 21 this year.
MORE: How will the ‘rule of six’ be enforced in Suffolk?
Police in Essex, who handed out 240 Covid-related fines from March to September, directed enquiries to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), who issued a statement confirming they could “enforce as a last resort”.
Essex was placed in tier two of the government’s new Covid-19 categories two weeks ago in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
The NPCC’s statement said: “We understand that this is a period where people want to be with their loved ones, celebrating this holiday.
“We police against the regulations that are in law, and everybody has their part to play to help protect local communities and loved ones and we are confident people will adhere to the rules and help us to reduce the risk of transmission.
“The police’s approach remains to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules in the first instance and enforce as a last resort, where there are clear breach of the rules taking place.”
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