Police officers have been instructed to issue fines for ‘obvious, wilful and serious breaches’ in London (Image: NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Police in London are set to start issuing more fines for people who breach lockdown laws – saying rulebreakers will not be "reasoned with".
This morning the Met Police announced that people committing "obvious, wilful and serious breaches" will not be given the benefit of the doubt.
It said officers will accept fewer "reasonable excuses" for people being away from their homes, and those not wearing masks when they should be are more likely to be slapped with a fine.
In a statement, the force said it has instructed officers to issue fines "more quickly" – having previously focused on "explaining, and encouraging".
It comes two days after Boris Johnson plunged England back into a national lockdown following a huge surge in Covid-19 cases which threatens to overwhelm the NHS and cost thousands of lives.
People will be fined for not wearing masks in indoor public spaces unless they have an exemption on health grounds, the Met confirmed this morning.
Police will be more 'inquisitive' and will accept fewer excuses, the Met said
(Image: James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock)
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In a statement, police said: "In practice this will mean that all those attending parties, unlicensed music events or large illegal gatherings, can expect to be fined – not just the organisers of such events.
"Similarly, those not wearing masks where they should be and without good reason can expect to be fined – not reasoned with."
It continued: "Additionally, with fewer “reasonable excuses” for people to be away from their home in the regulations, Londoners can expect officers to be more inquisitive as to why they see them out and about."
The Met warned more rulebreakers face being fined
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
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Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, who leads the Met’s response to the Covid pandemic, said: “After ten months of this pandemic the number of people who are genuinely not aware of the restrictions and the reasons they are in place is vanishingly small.
“We know the overwhelming majority of Londoners will do the right thing by staying at home, wearing masks and not gathering, but a small minority continue to ignore rules put in place to protect the NHS and save lives.
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“Our first duty as police officers is to preserve life. The critical situation our NHS colleagues are facing and the way the new virus variant moves through communities, means we can no longer spend our time explaining or encouraging people to follow rules where they are wilfully and dangerously breaching.
“Less than a month ago we launched a new digital fines system which makes it quicker and easier for officers to issue fines on the spot.
"Since its launch more people have been reported for fines than in the rest of the year combined; this is also an indicator of a worsening position in the epidemic, and officers stepping in more quickly to try to keep communities safe.
“I hope it is not necessary for this particular trend to carry on but if people continue to break the rules, putting themselves, their families and their communities at greater risk, our officers are ready to act robustly.
“This is why Londoners must take action now to stop this virus spreading further across our city. Action now by everyone will help reduce the time our Capital must live with these restrictions and crucially, will prevent more people from dying needlessly because of this virus. It’s up to us all to do the right thing.”