Cops on park patrol as Priti Patel warns of 'tougher enforcement' on Covid lockdown rules

COPS have been patrolling parks on bicycles in a bid to crackdown on lockdown rules and catch Covid flouters.

The increased police presence comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel warned that there will be "tougher enforcement" of coronavirus rules.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Police officers were seen riding around on bikes in their hi-vis uniforms in Hyde Park, London, this afternoon.

The Home Secretary suggested tougher action would be taken against lockdown sceptic protesters.

Speaking outside St Thomas's Hospital in central London, the scene of an anti-lockdown protest on New Year's Eve, she called for people to take responsibility for their actions.

Asked whether there would be tougher enforcement to target protesters she said: "Absolutely, without hesitation.

"When you look at the pressures on the NHS – and we have been saying this for too long, quite frankly – the public need to take responsibility, act conscientiously, wear their masks, wear face coverings, follow the rules, follow the regulations.

"I can't emphasise that enough.

"The police will not hesitate, they are doing a fantastic job in terms of stopping the spread of the virus, making sure people comply, enforcing the coronavirus regulations and helping the NHS, in particular, save lives and to protect the NHS."

Priti Patel said people must realise that "actions have consequences" if they break coronavirus rules.


She added: "The numbers (of cases) are still far too high and my message to the public still is 'please stay at home.'

"The public should stay at home and follow the rules.

"And if you don't follow the rules the police will enforce the coronavirus regulations and you will get a fine.

"Actions have consequences. We want to get the R value down, we want fewer people in hospital, we want less pressure on the NHS.

"We have got heroes in the NHS right now working very hard to save people's lives and we have got heroes in frontline policing working hard to keep people out of hospital, stopping the spread of this virus."

Despite the R number – the reproduction rate of the virus – still being above the crucial threshold of one, Ms Patel said that stricter measures were not needed.

She said: "No, the focus has to be on compliance and enforcement of the regulations and the rules as they stand.

"You can only leave your home for a limited number of reasons and police are enforcing that rigidly, stringently across the country.

"That has been illustrated in the number of fines over the weekend, in the last week, the number of house parties, UMEs (unlicensed musical events) and also members of the public who have been spoken to by the police.


"That will continue and actually it's by enforcing the rules, the public following the rules, that we will get the R value down."

Yesterday, a further 671 people died from Covid-19 – the country's highest Sunday increase to date.

Official statistics released showed 38,598 new cases of coronavirus were recorded across Britain.

A total of 3,395,959 people have now caught the bug in Britain while 89,261 have died since the start of the pandemic.

The figures come as the nation wages war on Covid-19, completing a total of 3,857,266 vaccinations in England between December 8 and January 16.

Of those, 3,365,492 were first doses of the vaccine and 426,102, were second doses.

As a result of the figures, the Government will "phase out" the national lockdown before moving back to a tiered approach, Dominic Raab said yesterday.

The Foreign Secretary revealed the government plans to ease lockdown restrictions in March but lifting the measures will "not happen in one big bang,".


Source: Read Full Article