Call police on persistent Covid rule-breakers, says Met Commissioner

Dame Cressida Dick
Dame Cressida Dick (PA Wire)
9:58am, Tue 19 Jan 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Britain’s most senior police officer has said people should shop their neighbours if they are repeatedly breaking Covid-19 rules.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said a “small minority” are still failing to follow the regulations.

Speaking on an LBC radio phone-in on Tuesday, she said: “The last thing I’m going to say on national radio is everyone should be shopping everybody. I don’t think that.

If you do have concerns that somebody is persistently not complying with the restrictions ... you should talk to us

“What I do think is, if you do have concerns that somebody is persistently not complying with the restrictions, with the regulations, then, yeah, you should talk to us.

“If you feel comfortable to do so, then talk to us.”

Dame Cressida said the force is receiving “hundreds of calls a day” from concerned people, with fines handed out to those who are “completely reckless”, having house parties or keeping a restaurant, pub or cafe open.

It came after the Met issued more than 140 fixed penalty notices (FPNs), totalling £39,000, over the weekend in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney alone, while 14 seafood hauliers protesting over the Brexit fishing deal at Whitehall were fined on Monday.

Asked by a supermarket worker about about people refusing to wear face masks in shops, the commissioner said staff should call police if someone is “very rude or violent”.

But she added: “We can’t patrol and we won’t be patrolling all supermarkets – that will be impossible and not appropriate.

“I think there is a responsibility on stores and store owners and store managers. I don’t under-estimate that on occasion it can be a difficult job.”

Dame Cressida said there have been 97 incidents where someone has mentioned or threatened Covid before coughing at an officer, with 48 spitting attacks.

Some 126 people have been charged, with nearly two-thirds receiving a custodial sentence.

The commissioner revealed that three colleagues, none of whom were police officers, have died after contracting Covid-19, including a police community support officer last week.

And she said she is “baffled” as to why frontline officers are not closer to the front of the queue to receive the vaccine.

“In cohorts five to nine, you have people in what I might call my age groups and I am baffled really why, but obviously this is a decision that the Government’s made so far on the basis of something called the JVCI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), who are experts.

“But in many other countries, police officers and law enforcement colleagues are being prioritised and I want my officers to get the vaccination.”

Sign up to our newsletter