New rules will make it easier for police to crack down on mass raves say ministers

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Police will be told to crack down on Brits who break Boris Johnson’s new ban on social gatherings of more than six people, despite officers’ complaints about ‘constantly changing’ rules. 

Those who fail to comply with the rules, which come into force on Monday, could end up being fined £100.

Repeat offenders will then see these penalties doubled for each subsequent breach, up to a total of £3,200. 

Ministers hope the ban will help police take action against mass raves, which they fear are behind the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Crowds of young people gathered in Hackney earlier this week for an illegal street party. Downing Street hopes the new ban will make it easier for police to crack down on raves

Crowds of young people gathered in Hackney earlier this week for an illegal street party. Downing Street hopes the new ban will make it easier for police to crack down on raves

NEW LOCKDOWN RULES FOR ENGLAND FROM MONDAY 

  • Max social gatherings SIX PEOPLE
  • Applies indoors and outdoors
  • Applies in private homes
  • Applies in pubs and restaurants
  • Does NOT apply to schools or workplaces
  • Does NOT apply to weddings, funerals, team sport
  • Does NOT apply if household bubbles are bigger than six people
  • Police will be encouraged to break up larger groups and issue £100 fines, which will then double on each repeat offence up to £3,200
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The Prime Minister will outline further details of the new plans at a press conference today, after warning a recent surge in positive coronavirus cases must not be allowed to get out of control.

It will be illegal to assemble in groups of seven or more anywhere in England, whether indoors or out, from next week, but for a few exceptions.

Ministers were shocked on Sunday when virus cases doubled to almost 3,000 – the highest figure since May, with ‘young people, often in affluent areas’ being blamed for driving the increase.

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.

But the Police Federation of England and Wales last night urged the Government to ‘play its part’ through a public information campaign after ‘so many changes in legislation’.

The association’s national chairman John Apter said: ‘For policing, these constant changes to legislation are becoming the norm. The pressures on policing have increased significantly over recent months and this latest change will add to this pressure.

‘My colleagues will support the public through what is going to be a very difficult time. At all times they will also remind people that a breach of these regulations means breaking the law.

‘However, the Government needs to play its part. With so many changes in legislation, an effective public information campaign must be a priority – as there’s been so much confusion for the public and many people don’t know exactly what the law says.’

The Government has been fearful hospitalisations will soon begin to rise as a result of rising infections, despite scientists reassuring that most cases are among younger, healthy generations.  

Official data shows the surge of new cases over July and August has been driven by those in their teens and 20s while cases in older generations continue to decline. 

Police Federation chairman John Apter, pictured, said: 'For policing, these constant changes to legislation are becoming the norm. The pressures on policing have increased significantly over recent months and this latest change will add to this pressure'

Police Federation chairman John Apter, pictured, said: ‘For policing, these constant changes to legislation are becoming the norm. The pressures on policing have increased significantly over recent months and this latest change will add to this pressure’

British hospital admissions have remained stable with just one in 100,000 people currently needing medical care for Covid-19 infection, which further supports people aren’t getting seriously sick with the disease. 

It follows Health Secretary Matt Hancock telling MPs in the House of Commons that ‘just because we’ve come through one peak, it does not mean we cannot see another one coming’. 

Cases have been on an upward trajectory in the late summer, with some 2,193 people now being diagnosed each day, on average.   

Infection rates are highest among those in their teens and 20s, official data shows, and Mr Hancock has said it is mostly ’17 to 21 year olds’ testing positive.

Scientists have consistently said this is not something to worry about until spread starts spilling into the vulnerable and elderly parts of the community – which hospital and death data has so far suggested is not the case.  

Health officials are rattled, however, and are warning young people to stop going to parties and large gatherings and to respect the social distancing laws.   

Mr Hancock even appeared on Radio 1 to tell youngsters ‘Don’t kill your gran’ as deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said people had ‘relaxed too much’.

The Prime Minister’s new ‘rule of six’ is a dramatic reduction on the limit of 30 put in place on July 4, with only schools, workplaces and a limited number of other locations being exempt. 

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