Policing Minister urges public to 'grit our teeth' and comply with Covid rules

12 January 2021, 09:42

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By Megan White

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse has told LBC the public must "grit our teeth and stick to those rules" in a bid to ensure this is the last Covid national lockdown.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari, Mr Malthouse said it seemed "preposterous to think anybody could be ignorant of the rules" after the country had spent ten months under various restrictions.

But he said although there is a "small minority of people really taking the mickey," the "vast majority of people will apply their common sense."

Mr Malthouse spoke after Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said people who break Covid-19 rules are "increasingly likely" to face fines as cases continue to soar across the country.

Mr Malthouse told LBC: "We know that the vast majority of people will apply their common sense, see the reasoning behind the rules, recognise the problem that we face in hospitals and elsewhere and comply.

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"And where they don't, sadly, I'm afraid, the police will be moving much more quickly towards enforcement."

He added: "The key thing, I think, from my point of view, is to stress this point that if we want to avoid that, if we want to avoid more rules, if we want to make sure this is the last lockdown, it's totally critical that we all comply with the rules now.

"There's been a small minority of people really taking the mickey, trying to stretch the rules, looking for loopholes.

"We've arrested people in the middle of the night attempting to go and climb mountains in Snowdonia, all those kind of things, people have been turned back travelling across the country for leisure purposes - it really is breaking the rules and we have to recognise that we all have a collective responsibility towards our individual health.

"If you really care about getting out of this lockdown, economically, mentally, physically in good shape, we all absolutely have to grit our teeth and stick to those rules over the next few weeks."

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Writing in The Times, Dame Cressida stated that it is "preposterous that anyone could be unaware of our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus.

"We have been clear that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines."

Asked if he agreed with Dame Cressida's comments, Mr Malthouse said: "Yes I do agree with Dame Cressida, it does seem after ten months preposterous to think anybody could be ignorant of the rules, but also ignorant of the perilous state we find ourselves in, with the NHS rammed to capacity with numbers of infection rising on a daily basis, and sadly deaths following them.

"That's why we're sending out a strong message today that we need people to comply with the rules to make sure this is the last serious lockdown we have to face."

He added: "What we're asking people is as they stand on the threshold, to consider whether they absolutely need to leave the house, and if they are doing so, whether it's for one of those reasons - to get food, to take their daily exercise - and where possible, and hopefully much preferably, to stay local as much as possible."