Police chief demands authority to enter homes of suspected curfew breakers

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The police chief of the West Midlands calls for a “useful tool” to introduce new national lockdown steps

By granting cops the power to force their way into the homes of alleged lawbreakers, the government should tighten the lockout, a police chief has said.

“David Jamieson, West Midlands Police Police and Crime Commissioner, England’s second-largest force, said, “The power to enter seems a useful weapon for the tiny number of people who deny entry to police officers and hinder their work.

“I’ve already raised this issue with the police minister, and clarity on the power to enter would help police officers enforce the new Covid regulations more easily.”
The rising infection rate often triggers growing lapses in the ranks of officers who are expected to help enforce the lockdown, as the third lockdown in England goes into effect at midnight Wednesday.

The Guardian understands that the government was considering other tough steps before the lockdown was declared, including limiting travel and a nighttime curfew from 10 p.m. to early morning.

The movement restrictions under consideration may have resulted in individuals commuting just a few miles from their primary residence or in their own district.

After the initial lockout, police have suggested in negotiations with the government that coronavirus rules do not allow them to gain access to a location where they believe laws are being broken, such as when large groups take place.

Sources suggest that the latest shutdown would be broadly equivalent to last March’s first lockdown and that police would behave in a similar way. England’s 43 local police forces will make their own tactical decisions and concentrate on the biggest offences, such as unlicensed music activities and parties.

Police state that most individuals comply with the components of the laws they have imposed.

Research for the scientific advisors of the government found that when asked to do so, less than 20 percent of individuals in England completely self-isolate.

“We are confident that the majority of people will respect the rules and do their part to keep our communities safe and protect the NHS,” a spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs Council said.

“Those who do not comply with the rules and measures to contain the spread of the virus should expect to be fined.”

The latest lockout, triggered by growing rates of infection, is contributing to increased absenteeism in the police ranks, with England currently averaging 7 percent.

In certain forces, it is higher, and as with the first lockdown, if absence rates continue to escalate and become a problem, forces have drawn up proposals for what they will do.

“Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner of West Yorkshire, said, “By being compliant, we are protecting each other, our loved ones, and the emergency services and key staff who this winter are on the front line, putting their protection on behalf of us all before others.

“West Yorkshire Police will continue its approach of involving, explaining and encouraging the public but using enforcement powers when and where necessary to protect the public and I will be having further discussions with the Chief Constable and the Police Minister later [on Tuesday].”
The Metropolitan Police, which encompasses Greater London, said the alleged organizer of a party attended by up to 200 people in Kensington faces a fine of £ 10,000. The Met said they were called to the party on Dec. 30 and weapons, including knives and hammers, were seized by officers.

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