The Met will be stepping up its enforcement of COVID regulations in the coming days and weeks in response to regulation changes and rising rates of infection in the Capital.
Londoners should expect to see police officers engaging with members of the public to remind them of their responsibility to keep themselves and others safe. Working with local authorities and other partners, the focus will be on public spaces with high footfall – where people are most likely to come into contact with each other and therefore the risk of transmission is increased.
This renewed emphasis will take place alongside officers’ ongoing work tackling crime, including the Met’s number one priority of suppressing violence.
The Met will continue to use the ‘4 Es’ approach of Engagement, Explaining the regulations, Encouraging people to following them and only Enforcing as a last resort. However, officers will not hesitate to use their powers to deal with flagrant breaches of the regulations. Every one of London’s 32 boroughs will have police resources tasked to respond quickly to reports of serious COVID regulation breaches.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, who is leading the Met’s response to the pandemic, said: “The vast majority of Londoners have stuck to the rules and responded positively to the unprecedented situation we are in. We thank them for that.
“Throughout the last few months we have continued to step in where necessary to protect the public, even as the rules relaxed, with officers working hard to tackle challenging incidents such as unlicensed music events throughout the summer – sometimes facing extreme hostility and even violence. In many cases we worked proactively and successfully ahead these events to prevent them from happening in the first place.
“However, it is clear that there is a renewed need for everyone to do everything they can to minimise the risk of transmission of what is a potentially deadly disease – that means everyone following the rules. Our officers will help people do that and will explain to the public what those regulations are, however, they will also be firm and take appropriate action against those that simply refuse to follow the law and who are deliberately placing communities at risk.
“We urge the public to continue to report serious breaches to us via the 101 telephone system or using our online reporting system. However, we should all bear in mind that there are a number of exemptions to the rules which may apply to any situation so an apparent breach may not be what it appears and not every call may generate an immediate police response.
“Additionally, demands on the Met from crime, non-COVID related anti-social behaviour and protests are returning to pre-COVID levels so we will continue to respond to these alongside the pandemic in order to keep Londoners safe.”