Family celebrations that break coronavirus restrictions in the United Kingdom may be broken up by police entering their homes.
The Telegraph reported that police chiefs in the U.K. are warning residents that their homes could be entered as police enforce coronavirus restrictions. The chiefs focused most of their attention on warning families about Christmas celebrations but also mentioned Hanukkah and Diwali as well.
“If we think there’s large groups of people gathering where they shouldn’t be, then police will have to intervene,” David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), told the outlet. “If, again, there’s flagrant breaking of the rules, then the police would have to enforce.
“It’s not the police’s job to stop people enjoying their Christmas. However, we are there to enforce the rules that the Government makes, and if the Government makes those rules then the Government has to explain that to the public,” he added. “The police are there to enforce it and keep people safe – they’re not there to make judgments about whether people should enjoy themselves or not.”
Jamieson added that Christmas was not the only holiday that would be targeted. “Remember that you’ve got Eid and Diwali as well, in which there are similar expectations from families to be mingling together closely, just as for Christmas,” he said.
Jamieson also said the regulations would “very likely” lead to civil unrest in the region, as people may lose their jobs due to the regulations.
“We’re sitting on a time bomb here,” he told the outlet. “We’re getting very near the stage where you could see a considerable explosion of frustration and energy. Things are very on the edge in a lot of communities and it wouldn’t take very much to spark off unrest, riots, damage.”
He also criticized the government and suggested it was “making the rules up at the last minute for the next headline.”
“Because the Government have just announced things through the media, it hasn’t given any time for preparation of the police forces to get the information out to their officers in time for them to do the enforcement. That has been a constant frustration for the police, that they often know what the rules are after the public seem to know,” he said.
The rules apply to regions categorized as Tier 2 or Tier 3, meaning they still have high numbers of coronavirus cases. Tier 2 regions cannot allow those outside households to mix indoors. Households in Tier 3 cannot mix indoors or in gardens. Tier 3 regions also prohibit wedding receptions and will close any bars that don’t require patrons to purchase a “substantial” meal with a drink. Restaurants, gyms, libraries, and hair salons must all remain closed in Tier 3 regions as well.
Another PCC, Jane Kennedy of Merseyside, also told the Telegraph that police would break up family gatherings if they violated coronavirus restrictions.
“If that’s reported, the police will investigate, yes. If the restrictions remain in place there won’t be the usual family gatherings, and therefore if a family breaks those rules and has a family gathering they will stand out because the majority of people are complying,” she told the outlet.
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