COPS will not break up big groups in gardens as the Rule of Six returns today, the Sports Minister said this morning.
Nigel Huddleston said the police will still hand out fines for large gatherings breaking the rules but “I recognise it’s more difficult in people’s private gardens”.
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Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston today said it will be difficult for officers to police people in private gardens
People can now meet up in gardens but at a safe distanceCredit: Getty Images – Getty
He added that the Government is now “appealing to people to be sensible for the sake of their health and others”.
The Government’s ‘stay at home’ rule will end today, with up to six people or two separate households allowed to meet up outside.
Outdoor reunions with family and friends, plus the return of organised sport and weddings, will bring a huge rush of happiness, say experts.
But police chiefs worry that enforcing the rules as restrictions ease could be a challenge – with Brits tempted to gather in large groups in the warmer weather.
It comes as:
There are also fears that Brits could meet in larger groups than six people – but claim they are from two households.
Mr Huddleston added: “The police are there to implement the law and there are still laws here and they will implement fines, so if there’s large gatherings, again remember it’s a rule of six and up to six, but only six or two households.
“So if the police see people breaking those rules they can intervene, they can break up and as I say if necessary fine.
“I recognise it’s more difficult in people’s private gardens and that’s why we’re appealing to people to be sensible for the sake of their health and others, please don’t break the rules.”
He also said people are allowed to go on journeys across the country to see family and friends from today but people “need to think very carefully about how they travel”.
Mr Huddleston continued: “I think if people are travelling they need to think very carefully about how they travel, where they fill up for petrol, if they need food and so on.
I recognise it’s more difficult in people’s private gardens and that’s why we’re appealing to people to be sensible.”
“Probably get that locally before you go on the journey because what we don’t want is people intermixing in different parts of the country to any greater degree than necessary.
“And then when you do go and visit a friend or a relative make sure you stay in those gardens or stay outdoors and obey those rules, so please just again be sensible.”
It comes after Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), said it would be “challenging” to clamp down on law breakers when the Rule of Six returns.
Mr Hewitt said: “It will become more challenging for our officers to distinguish between who is and who isn’t breaching restrictions out and about.
“The most important thing is controlling the virus and we can best do that by focusing our efforts on large indoor gatherings like parties and unlicensed music events.”
He added: “We know from our experience last summer that when the weather gets better, and the restrictions are loosened, raves will start to spring up.
“We will continue our efforts to double down and preferably stop them before they happen.
“Any person who organises or attends these events clearly doesn’t need the regulations explaining to them and we will not hesitate to issue fines where necessary.”