Nick Ferrari scrutinises Priti Patel over police crackdown on Covid breaches

7 January 2021, 08:47

By Fiona Jones

This is the moment Nick Ferrari repeatedly scrutinised Priti Patel over her views on police stopping motorists to check passengers are from the same household, as officers crack down on Covid rule-breakers.

The Metropolitan Police on Wednesday issued a warning to Londoners who breach lockdown rules that they are increasingly likely to face fines.

Under the new crackdown, which constabularies are calling for around the country, those not wearing masks where they should be and without good reason can expect to be fined, and officers will be more "inquisitive" if people are out of their homes - both pedestrians and motorists.

Alongside this, people attending parties, unlicensed music events or large illegal gatherings, can expect to be fined as well as the organisers.

Nick asked Ms Patel: "Where is the evidence then that people have not been complying and therefore we need to stop them in their cars and knock on their doors if the music is playing loudly?"

The home secretary told Nick there has been "lots of evidence" that people have been breaking rules with around 1000 fines issued over the Christmas period.

"You support someone in Nottinghamshire being stopped to find out if the people in their car are their family?" Nick asked repeatedly.

"The police will exercise their professional judgement depending on the circumstances and the situation that they see," Ms Patel said.

"For the third time of asking, you would support a police officer stopping a motorist to ensure the person in his or her car was a member of their family?" Nick asked, calling the question a 'yes or no'.

"Actually it's not a yes or no, I support the police...depending on the circumstances," she said, "if they see a car that has travelled into a local area that is not from that local area then they'd be absolutely right to question why is that car there.

"Particularly as the advice right now is to stay at home, it is the same message that we had back in March. People should only be out for very very limited reasons."

Sir Peter Fahy, former Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, commented on the police clampdown, telling LBC: "The problem is that the lockdown keeps on changing, and it’s a real challenge for police forces to make sure that police officers understand what the legislation says and what the exemptions are.

“We still have this gap between what ministers announce, what is in guidance and what is in the legislation.

“So practically there are real operational problems for the police."