Brits flout ‘rule of six’ on first day – as police chief says: Don’t call us!


HUNDREDS of Brits flouted the new “rule of six” laws on the first day – as a police chief urged “curtain twitchers” not to call cops. 

Young people were pictured enjoying the sunshine in large groups across Brighton, Bristol and London – risking a £100 fine.

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Young people have been out enjoying the sunshine in large groups

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Young people have been out enjoying the sunshine in large groupsCredit: Simon Jones – The Sun
People still met in big groups today despite new rule of six

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People still met in big groups today despite new rule of sixCredit: Getty Images – Getty
No10 has suggested first offenders might not be fined

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No10 has suggested first offenders might not be finedCredit: Reuters
No10 suggested people would not be fined in the first few days of the rules

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No10 suggested people would not be fined in the first few days of the rulesCredit: Andrew Lloyd/The Sun

But Ken Marsh, head of the Police Federation, warned officers will be flooded with calls after the Police Minister encouraged people to snitch on rule breakers.

The police chief said cops would be bombarded with hundreds of thousands of  “curtain twitchers” shopping their neighbours.

He added that precious resources will be diverted from tackling serious offences like knife crime.

Mr Marsh told The Sun: “It will just inundate us with calls. Does he think we have an endless supply of officers who can just go out to these things?

“It will be hundreds and hundreds of calls coming in from curtain twitchers.

“I get the sentiment. I want us to all be safe. But I don’t think that is the answer.

“It just creates these little self-styled heroes who will be on the phone non-stop.”

It comes as:

Mr Marsh’s warning comes after Police Minister Kit Malthouse urged Brits to dob on their neighbours.

He told BBC Radio 4: “What we’re hoping we’ll see for the rule of six is what we saw for the whole of lockdown which is extremely high compliance.

“In the end we all have to recognise that we have an individual duty towards our collective health and we hope that view will prevail.

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“There is the non-emergency number that people can ring and report issues if they wish to.”

People face fines of £100 if they meet in groups bigger than six

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People face fines of £100 if they meet in groups bigger than sixCredit: PA:Press Association
People are not allowed to "mingle" under new rules

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People are not allowed to “mingle” under new rulesCredit: London News Pictures
People enjoyed the sun in London today after the new rules were brought in

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People enjoyed the sun in London today after the new rules were brought inCredit: Steve Back
Policing minister Kit Malthouse says people should snitch on their neighbours

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Policing minister Kit Malthouse says people should snitch on their neighbours
Young people ignored the new rules today

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Young people ignored the new rules todayCredit: London News Pictures
Fines can skyrocket up to £3,200 for people who continue to ignore the restrictions.

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Fines can skyrocket up to £3,200 for people who continue to ignore the restrictions.Credit: AFP or licensors

The new rules to stop the spread of coronavirus mean Brits can only meet up in groups of six people – or face £100 fines if they are broken.

But in Scotland and Wales kids don’t count towards the total numbers, meaning family gatherings haven’t been totally ruled out thanks to the new law.

Mr Malthouse said during lockdown there was a surge from people spying on their neighbours reporting them to the police for breaking restrictions.

He said: “If people do think there has been a contravention, then that option is open to them.

“If they are concerned and they do see (people breaking the rule) they should (ring the non-emergency number).”

But furious Tory MPs and cops slammed the Stasi-style move, saying it will turn England into a nation of curtain twitchers.

Conservative backbencher Steve Baker told The Sun: “East Germany, here we come.”

Adults who break the new rule, which kicked in today, face a £100 on-the-spot fine which could rise to £3,200 for repeat offenders.

Parents whose teenage kids break the rule also face being stung.

Mr Malthouse urged the public to snoop on their neighbours to make sure they are sticking to the new Covid clampdown.

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And he vowed to personally grass up his neighbours if they break the law.

He said: “You should think about calling the non-emergency number and letting the police know.

“We are obviously facing a very difficult situation with the numbers.

“The trouble with this virus is that we have learnt that it grows very quickly and recedes very slowly and so we have to act very quickly.”

Asked what he would do if he spotted a breach on his street, he added: “I would call the non-emergency number and let the police know”

One group danced on Hove lawns in Brighton at lunchtime today 

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One group danced on Hove lawns in Brighton at lunchtime today 
Brighton beach was packed with groups soaking up the sun

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Brighton beach was packed with groups soaking up the sunCredit: Eddie Mitchell
A large group relaxes in Castle Park in Bristol, risking a £100 fine

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A large group relaxes in Castle Park in Bristol, risking a £100 fineCredit: Jake McPherson
This group of seven was happy to break the rules

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This group of seven was happy to break the rulesCredit: Jake McPherson
This big group of pals from Cardiff University spent the day on Barry Island together, despite the new gathering ban

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This big group of pals from Cardiff University spent the day on Barry Island together, despite the new gathering banCredit: Wales News Service

National Police Chiefs Council Chairman Martin Hewitt said people should try and talk to their rule-breaking neighbours before calling the cops.

He said: “Once these rules and regulations are enacted, they are the law. If people are deliberately breaking the law, we would expect members of the public to take responsibility to report that.

“We have seen over the 6 months we have seen a number of points, particularly when new regulations have been brought in, that we get calls to police in and we will respond to that.

“But we all have to take responsibility, as families, as individuals as businesses we all have to take responsibility.”

The fines for breaking the rules can skyrocket up to £3,200 if people continue to ignore the limit on social gatherings.

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And Home Secretary Priti Patel said troublemakers would be handed a criminal record if they ignore the fines.

Anyone meeting in a group of more than six indoors or out are now breaking the law.

Home Office officials say those who refuse to accept £100 on-the-spot fines will be arrested and taken to court.

A source said: “Those who repeatedly break the rules need to know they could face a criminal record.”

Pubs, bars and restaurants must also take the details of punters or risk £1,000 fines.

Writing in The Sun, Ms Patel, said: “These new rules are easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce.

“I know that, as part of our national effort, the law-abiding majority will stick to these new rules. But there will be a small minority who do not, and the police have the necessary powers to take action against them.

“This disease is deadly and that is why it is right that the police enforce where people break the rules.”

The full-text of the new laws were published just 23 minutes before midnight when the rules came into force.

And Tory MPs and peers last week blasted the rules for ruining family gatherings.

Steve Baker demanded the PM shake-off the “grinch” restrictions after Scotland and Wales excluded kids from the 6-person limit.

Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, told Times Radio: “It’s peak infringement of people’s liberties and their right to a normal family life.

“You could mitigate quite considerably by excluding younger children, the people we know who are least likely to be affected by the virus, less likely to spread the virus.”

LOCKDOWN RISK

The new rules come as Government scientific adviser Peter Openshaw has warned the rise in infections will “inevitably” result in more “hospitalisations and deaths”.

Prof Openshaw said the nation had to get a grip or risk returning to a “hard lockdown”.

He said: “It starts as a trickle but if you don’t do something about it, it can turn into a real cascade.”

There has also been an explosion in new cases in 43 care homes prompting a call from the Government for providers to act.

A letter, which was sent on Friday, urges care bosses to “take necessary action to prevent and limit outbreaks”.

Pubs and restaurants could also face a curfew if infections continue to rise.

A source told the Telegraph that the curfew was the “logical next step” for the country if local lockdowns fail to stop the spread of infection.

Bars in Bolton already have to close early in an attempt to curb the rise in cases in the city.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “I think that as you’ve seen we’ve been very prepared to move quickly where necessary and where the evidence points us.”

Groups gathered at Warleigh Weir in the river Avon near Bath today

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Groups gathered at Warleigh Weir in the river Avon near Bath todayCredit: Andrew Lloyd/The Sun

 

 

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