Coronavirus: Talk to rule breakers first before calling the police – PM

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Police, pictured here in Edinburgh in June, can now separate groups of more than six people


People should talk to the social distancing rule breakers first before reporting them to the police, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

In an interview with The Sun, Mr Johnson said he had “never been much in favor of underhand culture, myself”.

It comes after his colleague, Police Minister Kit Malthouse, called on people to speak out against neighbors who were breaking the coronavirus ‘rule of six’.

The new rules came into effect in England, Scotland and Wales this week.

They ban social gatherings of more than six people but vary slightly by country – for example in England and Scotland the law applies both indoors and outdoors, but only indoors in the Wales.

Police have the power to divide groups of more than six and people who ignore the police could be fined £ 100 – doubling with each offense to a maximum of £ 3,200.

  • What are the rules?
  • UK cases rose by 3,991 on Wednesday

Speaking to the Sun newspaper, Mr Johnson suggested that anyone who saw someone breaking the rules not to go directly to the police.

“What people should do in the first place is obviously if they are concerned, is to raise it with their friends and neighbors,” he said.

“But I think what is reasonable for anyone to do is think that there is a serious threat to public health due to the activities of their neighbor – if there is any big sort of animal house feast, as I’m sure, hot tubs and so on – and there is a serious threat to public health, so it’s reasonable for the authorities to know that.

The Prime Minister was referring to the 1978 film National Lampoon’s Animal House which featured a big toga party.

His comments differ from what his Conservative colleagues have said previously.

Earlier this week, Home Secretary Priti Patel was asked if she would alert the police about her neighbors if they broke the rules, replying: ‘I don’t spend my time looking in people’s gardens . ”

But put more emphasis on the subject in the BBC Radio 4 Today interview, she said: “I think anyone would want to take responsibility and make sure that we don’t spread this terrible disease and therefore if I saw clearly gatherings of more than six people I would clearly do. report that. ”

She also said families who stopped to chat on the street were seen as “mingling” and would also be breaking the rules.

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Media legendHome Secretary Priti Patel explains why ‘mix’ is against latest Covid-19 restrictions

Meanwhile, Mr Malthouse said the public should call the non-urgent number 101 and release details of alleged violators.

He was asked if someone should report a gathering of seven or more people in a neighbor’s yard, and said, “Neighbors are free to do just that through the non-urgent number.

“And if they’re worried and they see this sort of thing, then they absolutely should think about it.” ”

Also earlier this week, the chairman of the Police Federation, which represents grassroots officers in England and Wales, called for advice on how to apply the measures.

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UK Transport Police officers patrol underground cars to check people are wearing masks


On Wednesday, 3,991 new cases were announced by the government.

Stricter lockdown restrictions are expected to be introduced in north-east England in the coming days – but Mr Johnson told MPs the government will do ‘everything in our power’ to avoid a second nationwide lockdown .

  • Read what Johnson said during the second lockdown
  • Learn more about the North East of England

Mr Johnson also touched on the lockdown in his interview with The Sun, saying: “The only way to make sure the country can enjoy Christmas is to be tough now.”

He said ministers will “examine” the possibility of telling pubs and restaurants to close earlier.

People need to be “both confident and cautious,” he added.

There are several local hot spots in the UK which have seen an increase in the number of cases since the national lockdown ended.

Parts of North West England, West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Leicester, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are currently under local lockdown.

Public Health England also produces a weekly watch list of areas of concern.

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