No more Mr Nice Guy over lockdown
Police vow to be robust
08 January, 2021 — By Bronwen Weatherby
Deputy Assistant Met Commisioner Matt Twist
POLICE in Islington have vowed to be “swift and robust” in cracking down on Covid lockdown breaches after officers handed out dozens of fines to partygoers over Christmas and New Year.
Officers have been instructed to issue fines more quickly, and be more inquisitive about why people are out and about in the wake of a new national lockdown order.
Last week, 43 fines were handed out at a single party in Prebend Street, King’s Cross, after it is believed revellers took over an AirBNB house.
The penalties in this case were £200 each.
Even before the stay-at-home lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, London’s Tier 4 virus restrictions made gatherings unlawful.
A woman living in Highbury Quadrant was also fined after holding a party on December 27.
Police said a new digital fines system launched last month makes it easier for officers to issue on-the-spot fines, police said.
The borough’s Covid-19 commander, Pete Dearden, said: “Given the seriousness of this pandemic, the infection rate, the fact many people are still dying and others haven’t seen their family in months, I think it’s only right and fair that people caught breaking the law now face the full force of the law.”
He added: “I’m not going to apologise for that. I now expect my officers who find someone breaching the legislation to deal with it swiftly and robustly.”
The number of officers across the Central North Borough Command Unit, which covers Islington and Camdenand Islington, off due to sickness and isolation from Covid-19 is at its highest since the pandemic began.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, who leads the Met’s overall response to the Covid pandemic, said on Wednesday: “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.”