Met Police urge public to 'act sensibly and do their part' on weekend before Christmas

18 December 2020, 16:20

Police have urged people to "act sensibly"
Police have urged people to "act sensibly". Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Met police have urge the public to 'act sensibly and do their part' by not attending large gatherings over the last weekend before Christmas.

The force is setting out the policing plan as London approaches its first weekend under tough Tier 3 restrictions lining up with the weekend before Christmas.

Millions of people in London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire are now living under new restrictions after new rules came into force following a rise in Covid-19 cases.

The government announced on Monday that the capital would enter Tier 3 after data revealed the number of new cases rose in every single London borough in the week to December 11.

Across the Capital, additional officers will be deployed to encourage people to comply with the rules, the Met said, and will also "swiftly clamp down on those wilfully and dangerously ignoring them if needed", a statement read.

Police will be focusing on breaking up large gatherings, particularly in areas with high infection rates across the capital.

Anyone attending or organising a protest has also been urged to adhere to government regulations.

Earlier on Friday, the Prime Minister didn't rule out the possibility of a third national lockdown in England, but said he's "hoping" the country will be able to avoid it.

When asked about the possibility of another lockdown after Christmas, Mr Johnson said: "We’re hoping very much we’ll be able to avoid anything like that".

Speaking during a visit to Greater Manchester, Mr Johnson said the rates of infection have increased "very much" in the past few weeks.

It comes as ministers are reportedly considering bringing in Tier 4 restrictions, in which people would be told to stay at home with commuting banned, schools would stay shut for an extra week, and non-essential shops would be shut.

After 38 million people were placed into Tier 3 in England, a Whitehall official told the Times: 'There is a case for going further than Tier 3 and it is getting stronger.

'[That could mean] closure of non-essential retail, stay-at-home orders. That would have to be actively considered in conversation with the local authority.'

Deputy Met Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, said the police will be "forced to take enforcement action" if people do not comply with the rules.

“Where we become aware of planned events that will breach regulations, we will try to engage with organisers or venues to make them fully aware of the restrictions that are in place to keep people safe," he explained.

“However, if people do not listen to our advice and fail to comply with the rules, we will be forced to take enforcement action.

“With infection rates rising rapidly across the capital, we all need to play our part in preventing the spread of the virus.

“This is the final weekend before Christmas, so now is not the time for complacency. I know Londoners know what they should and should not be doing and I would urge everyone to act sensibly and do their part to keep our city safe.

“Sticking to the guidelines put in place to keep us all safe and well is now more important than ever.

“This weekend we will ensure we deal with the activity of a few so as not to expose our communities at even greater risk during this pandemic.”