Manchester Police issue warning after 1,106 reports of Covid-19 breaches in one weekend

12 August 2020, 10:58

Of the 1,106 reports of Covid breaches to Greater Manchester Police, 540 of those were reports of house gatherings and parties and 48 reports of licensed premises breaching the restrictions.
Of the 1,106 reports of Covid breaches to Greater Manchester Police, 540 of those were reports of house gatherings and parties and 48 reports of licensed premises breaching the restrictions. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Police in Greater Manchester have appealed to locals to "follow new Covid legislation" amid a rise in reports of breaches in the region.

Greater Manchester Police said last weekend alone saw the force receive 1,106 reports of people breaking coronavirus laws.

A spokesperson said this was a 25 per cent increase on the previous weekend and warned officers will use new powers to deal with those breaking the laws around social-distancing and gatherings.

New legislation published by the Government brought in additional restrictions on socialising in indoor spaces and gives police the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to those who continue to blatantly breach the Covid legislation.

Last week a major incident was declared in Greater Manchester due to a rise in Covid-19 infections.

The new rules mean that people must not meet people from other households inside a house or garden, or socialise with them in other indoor public venues.

As part of the new legislation, police are now able to specifically target the rising issue of house parties and social gatherings in households by issuing FPNs to occupants or hosts who encourage a breach of the regulations.

A police spokesperson said of the 1,106 reports of Covid breaches, 540 of those were reports of house gatherings and parties and 48 reports of licensed premises breaching the restrictions.

Police officers attended 40 of these reports which led to 10 arrests and 11 FPNs being issued.

A GMP spokesperson said: "Breaching the legislation not only puts individuals at risk of catching the virus, but also compromises the safety of loved ones, as well as others within the community. This is utterly unacceptable and GMP will take action."

Assistant Chief Constable and Chair of the Local Resilience Forum Nick Bailey said: “As the restrictions have eased, it may seem as though the virus is no longer as much of a threat, however, this is absolutely not the case. We are very much still in the middle of a pandemic and are seeing increasing numbers of COVID cases across Greater Manchester."

The senior officer warned that the sooner people complied with coronavirus restrictions the sooner society could return to normality.

He said: “National figures show that people between the ages of 18-41 have been issued the most FPNs. Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate – absolutely anyone can get ill whether you’re old or young and it’s imperative that we continue to treat this situation seriously and adhere to the rules in order to reduce infection rates. Even though you may not suffer serious symptoms yourself, by breaching the regulations which are put in place for public safety, you could end up spreading the infection to loved ones who may not be so fortunate."

He said his officers would "continue to investigate house parties and illegal gatherings and with the new legislation in place, we shall specifically target those who are organising the events and encouraging others to breach the regulations and put others at risk by attending."

ACC Bailey issued a warning for those expecting exam results, he said: “I understand that A-level results are coming out this week and people will rightly want to celebrate. However, please be mindful of the COVID regulations in your celebrations as we do not want to spoil what should be a joyous occasion by issuing FPNs at any house parties or illegal gatherings. It is worth noting that recent spikes in Greater Manchester which lead to the additional restrictions were centred around house parties with 17/18 year olds.

“I would like to ask the public to continue to report breaches of the restrictions. Where there are no immediate risks or disorder, I would ask where possible matters are reported via the online reporting systems which can be accessed via the GMP website, or call 101. We are currently receiving a lot of calls around the regulations and what people are allowed and not allowed to do. If you have any questions regarding the regulations, all information can be found on the Government website.

“Finally, I would like to thank the majority of people who have been following the guidance and playing their part in helping to keep our communities safe. I appreciate that this is a difficult situation and I am incredibly grateful for the personal sacrifices you have all individually been making in order to protect the public and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

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