New social gathering restrictions will put 'intolerable pressure' on policing

8 September 2020, 23:53

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Enforcing new coronavirus restrictions will place "intolerable pressure" on policing, the Chair of the Police Federation has told LBC.

On Tuesday the Government announced that social gatherings of more than six people will be made illegal in England from Monday as they seek to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.

But the Chairman of the Police Federation has told LBC that the public will need to play their part as enforcing the new rules will put huge pressure on the police force.

John Apter told LBC's Tom Swarbrick that the Government along with policing and medical professional have been warning for some time that "if people don't comply with the rules that are there for the simple reason of stopping the spread of this virus," then "we knew that the virus was going to take hold".

He added that while this "comes as no surprise" it has caused the Government to react.

"It puts intolerable pressure on policing," the officer told Tom.

The Government hopes that the change to the law will make it easier for the police to identify and disperse illegal gatherings. Failure to comply could result in a £100 fine, which will double on each repeat offence up to £3,200.

Number 10 said Mr Johnson held a virtual roundtable with police forces last week where officers expressed their desire for rules on social contact to be simplified.

The Police Federation Chair revealed that the "day to day" aspects of "policing are "busier than ever" and now officers will have to "police the pandemic with even greater powers."

He said that his colleagues will "step up, because that's what we do."

But the officer who represents rank and file police officers across England and Wales said that the public "really need to play their part".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use a press conference on Wednesday to announce the change in the law after the number of daily positive Covid-19 cases in the UK rose to almost 3,000.

The legal limit on social gatherings will be reduced from 30 people to six. It will apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors - including private homes, as well as parks, pubs and restaurants.

Gatherings of more than six people will be allowed where the household or support bubble is larger than six, or where the gathering is for work or education purposes.

Exemptions will also apply for weddings, funerals and organised team sports in a Covid-secure way.