Police Federation chair believes officers will not fine people over face masks

14 July 2020, 10:52

By Fiona Jones

Metropolitan Police Federation chair predicts officers will not fine people without face masks and called the new regulations "nigh on impossible to police."

Face coverings will become mandatory in all shops and supermarkets in England from 24 July.

In a statement on Tuesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock will say anyone failing to comply with the order could face a fine of up to £100.

Metropolitan Police Federation chief Ken Marsh told LBC, "I suggest that we're not going to be doling out fines."

"The Government keep throwing everything back to the police to deal with, what we want to see is responsibility of the shop keepers...no mask no entry is a good starter for ten," he said, explaining that this will put the onus on the customer.

"The shop keeper doesn't have the power to detain anybody who doesn't have a mask on so what are we going to be doing? Driving round and round London looking for people who didn't have masks on because they won't be waiting for the police to turn up, will they?" he said.

"It has to become everybody's responsibility, not just the police's...you're not going to have a police officer on every door," he told LBC, calling for "joined up thinking."

Mr Marsh continued that this policy will have to evolve over time as some people have health conditions meaning they cannot wear face masks; this could lead to them being illegally denied entry to shops.

"There are so many caveats to what we're talking about that it's going to be nigh on impossible to police correctly," he said.