Police won't barge in on Christmas dinners to catch Covid rule-breakers

The country’s most senior police officer has said she has ‘no interest in interrupting family Christmas dinners’ to enforce coronavirus restrictions.

When asked by radio host Nick Ferrari whether officers will ‘count the number of people eating the turkey’, Metropolitan Police commissioner dame Cressida Dick said the force will not be entering people’s homes.

‘We have no powers of entry,’ she told LBC.

‘I have no intention in any way of encouraging my people to be barging through people’s doors or knocking on people’s doors unless you’ve got, as we sometimes do – and then they can’t barge, they may knock – a huge party going on, which is clearly very, very dangerous and causing lots of concern with the neighbours.

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‘Well then we might be knocking on the door saying, “You need to stop this.”‘

Her comments come as uncertainty continues around what the rules will be over Christmas.

Reports suggest the rules may be relaxed for a five-day period from Christmas Eve, and that ministers are considering plans to allow three or four households to form bubbles.

But it has been suggested if this happens, a month-long lockdown period may have to take place in the New Year to make up for the damage caused.

Dame Cressida said: ‘We don’t know of course what the rules will be at Christmas.

‘Let’s see what the rules are, but I have no interest in interrupting family Christmas dinners.

‘The police have lots of other things to be doing.’

She added the force will ‘work with whatever the Government say are the current restrictions’.

Dame Cressida further defended the force’s policing of the second national lockdown following criticism after around 30 officers were pictured attending a gym in north London.

Andreas Michli, 34, was given thousands of pounds’ worth of fines after he refused to shut his Zone Gym in Wood Green.

Dame Cressida described the incident as a ‘truly extraordinary case’ and said the image of 30 officers had been taken during a ‘change-over’ between two groups of police.

‘I have spoken to the commander in charge there and the person in charge on the day,’ she said.

‘We wish we didn’t have to do these things, of course.

‘People need to comply with the law. I think we handled it well.’

But last month a number of police forces from across the UK revealed they will crack down on regulations over Christmas if the rules are broken.

Forces in some areas say they will enforce measures if necessary, such as in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, the West Midlands and London.

Approach is likely to be softer in places with lower infection rates, with Norfolk, Cumbria, Hertfordshire, and Devon and Cornwall forces saying they would be ‘sensible and fair’ and did not mention enforcement.

But other forces say they are unable to plan their tactics, because they have no idea what tier their area will be in by Christmas.

A top police officer fears civil unrest across the country as he warns parties will be broken up over the festive period.

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