Met Chief Cressida Dick says police have ‘no interest’ in crashing Christmas dinner

20 November 2020, 09:51 | Updated: 3 December 2020, 15:58

By Megan White

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has told LBC she has "no interest in interrupting family Christmas dinners" and said "the police have lots of other things to be doing."

Speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari about the enforcement of lockdown restrictions over the festive season, Dame Cressida said she has “no intention” of encouraging officers to be “barging through people’s doors” unless there is a “huge party going on.”

Read more: Christmas covid lockdown: Family gatherings will 'throw fuel on fire,' warns top scientist

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During a Downing Street conference on Friday, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathon Van Tam said there was no "magical number" of days that families could be allowed to meet for Christmas to avoid a spike in cases.

It comes as the government is considering what to do about lockdown rules over Christmas, with people still being left unsure if they will be able to see their families after spending the majority of the year apart.

A five-day relaxation of the rules between December 23 and 28 has been mooted, but Public Health England said that could require another month-long lockdown in January.

Asked whether officers would “bang on the door and count how many people were eating the turkey,” Dame Cressida said: “The first thing is, just to acknowledge, we will be here, my teams work 24/7 365, and that’s the great thing about something like this police service – it will be there for Londoners, whatever is going on.

“We have no powers of entry, I have no intention anyway of encouraging my people to be barging through people’s doors or knocking on people’s doors, unless you’ve got as we sometimes do, a huge party going on which is clearly very, very dangerous and causing lots of concern – for them, we might be knocking on doors, saying you need to stop this.

“We don’t know what the rules are, let’s see what they are, but I have no interest in interrupting family Christmas dinners.

“The police have lots of other things to be doing.”

On Thursday, Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London, said mixing households at Christmas poses "substantial risks" to older generations and will "throw fuel on the fire" of the pandemic.

The SAGE member said it would be "tragic" to "waste the gains we've made during lockdown by trying to return to normality over the holidays."

Speaking in a personal capacity, Professor Hayward said: "Mixing at Christmas does pose substantial risks, particularly in terms of bringing together generations with high incidence of infection with the older generations who currently have much lower levels of infection and are at most risk of dying if they catch Covid.

"My personal view is we're putting far too much emphasis on having a near-normal Christmas.

"We know respiratory infections peak in January so throwing fuel on the fire over Christmas can only contribute to this."

Asked if people should worry more about the health and welfare of their parents and grandparents than gathering together for a movie over Christmas, Prof Hayward said: "Well exactly.

"We're on the cusp of being able to protect those elderly people who we love through vaccination and it would be tragic to throw that opportunity away and waste the gains we've made during lockdown by trying to return to normality over the holidays."