COVID-19 – Police warn of crackdown on illegal gatherings

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke and four other chief constables have warned of a tougher response to people who break the rules of the new lockdown which comes into effect tomorrow.

Andy Cooke, Chief Constable for Merseyside, urged the public to help “prevent any further suffering” and said the police force will actively enforce the new rules for people “incapable of demonstrating any civic responsibility”.

Their message was aimed at people who are “repeatedly holding parties” and “those organising large gatherings and music events.” Those who fail to pay fixed penalty notices issued for lockdown breaches will also be targeted, they said. “We used the 4E’s model of Engage, Explain, Encourage and only as a last resort Enforce, in relation to issuing Fixed Penalty Notices for breaching the Coronavirus legislation.”

They said that they would ask for government support to pursue people who failed to pay fixed penalty notices. Fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for failure to comply with COVID-19 regulations can be as much as £10,000.

Chief constables from Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Lancashire, and Cheshire police services issued the joint statement earlier today, following a series of illegal gatherings throughout the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five chief constables said that “greater levels of enforcement” would be used for people “who feel the restrictions don’t apply to them”.

Concluding, they said, “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.”

Main Image Credit: Harrison Haines