Lockdown 3: Police say no more Mr Nice Guy over Covid-19 breaches
Met Police have vowed to be robust
07 January, 2021 — By Bronwen Weatherby
Officers have been instructed to be more inquisitive about why people are outside
POLICE in Camden have vowed to be “swift and robust” in cracking down on Covid lockdown breaches after officers handed out dozens of fines to partygoers over Christmas and New Year.
A group of 20 people attending a gathering in the basement of restaurant Brazil Grill in Haverstock Hill, Belsize Park, were all issued with £200 penalties, while an Airbnb house party in Arlington Road, Camden Town, was shut down and 25 people received fines.
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On New Year’s Eve a number of £10,000 fines and a substantial number of £200 fines were also handed out.
Met Police officers have been instructed to issue fines more quickly, and be more inquisitive about why people are out and about in the wake of a new national lockdown order.
A new digital fines system launched last month makes it easier for officers to issue on-the-spot fines, police said.
The borough’s Covid-19 commander, Pete Dearden, said: “Given the seriousness of this pandemic, the infection rate, the fact many people are still dying and others haven’t seen their family in months, I think it’s only right and fair that people caught breaking the law now face the full force of the law.”
Chief Inspector Pete Dearden vows to be tough
He added: “I’m not going to apologise for that. I now expect my officers who find someone breaching the legislation to deal with it swiftly and robustly.”
The number of officers across the Central North Borough Command Unit, which covers Camden and Islington, off due to sickness and isolation from Covid-19 is at its highest since the pandemic began.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, who leads the Met’s overall response to the Covid pandemic, said yesterday (Wednesday): “Our first duty as police officers is to preserve life. The critical situation our NHS colleagues are facing, and the way the new virus variant moves through communities, means we can no longer spend our time explaining or encouraging people to follow rules where they are wilfully and dangerously breaching.”