Police federation brands Government pandemic response 'wishy-washy'

10 May 2020, 08:39

Police have criticised the Government's response to Covid-19
Police have criticised the Government's response to Covid-19. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Metropolitan Police Federation has said Downing Street is sending mixed messages and authorities needed to be "firmer right from the beginning."

The group who represent police officers in London have criticised the Government's pandemic response branding it as "wishy-washy" amid concerns that the public has begun ignoring lockdown restrictions.

On Saturday police in east London said they were "fighting a losing battle" as hundreds of Londoners flocked to parks to enjoy the Bank Holiday sunshine despite the coronavirus lockdown.

The Government had repeatedly urged the public to continue to respect the lockdown restrictions ahead of the long weekend.

Read more: Boris Johnson to reveal five-stage warning scheme ahead of easing restrictions

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MPF's Ken Marsh said authorities "needed to be firmer right from the beginning".

He said: "It's been quite wishy-washy how we've gone about it.

"Had we been very stringent from the off - it is painful, but it's not overly painful in terms of what you're actually being asked to do - then I think we would have a better result now."

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Health officials have said they fear Britons are starting to get complacent about the Covid-19 lockdown after traffic and mobile phone data revealed more people are on the roads and looking for directions.

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said on Saturday that "there was a little bit of concern" after the unseasonably warm weather drew big crowds to public spaces.

Scotland Yard sent officers on bikes to keep an eye on London's Hyde Park, while North Yorkshire Police revealed that 50% of shutdown fines issued so far have gone to tourists visiting beauty spots in the area.