Police will not fine people for breaking rule of 6 just yet, confirms Number 10

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Number 10 has confirmed police officers will not be fining people £100 for breaking the rule of 6 immediately.

The law banning gatherings of more than 6 people came into force on Monday, 15 minutes after Tory ministers published details outlining the new rule.

While workplaces and schools remain exempt to the law, minsters are pleading with all British people to obey the new rule, which was implemented as a preventative measure following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

But the Tories have said it will take "two or three days" before people are fined.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: “If in the coming days people do continue to flout them then you would expect police to issue fines.

“They are ultimately decisions for the police.

“The rules are in place to stop the spread of the virus and the public will expect them to be enforced, just as other laws are.”

Kilt Malthouse, Minister of Policing, has said it will take “two or three days” before people are fined £100 for breaking the law, to allow time to produce guidance for PCs.

Mr Malthouse praised The Government’s decisions to implement the law immediately, and then work out the details.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “We’re obviously moving very quickly at the moment to try and get the regulations in place, get the guidance out to police officers as fast as we can over the next two or three days so that they’re in a position to know how they should interpret it.

“All of that will be laid out in guidance out to police officers which will be issued in the next couple of days from the College of Policing.”

Asked if instances of people from different households gathering in groups of seven or more should be met with a £100 fine per person, Mr Malthouse said: “Well no, police should start with encouraging them to comply.

“And explaining to them what the situation is and impressing upon them the duty they have towards our collective health.

“Only in the situation where individuals refuse to comply should police consider moving towards enforcement.”

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Mr Malthouse added concerned neighbours should ring the non-emergency police phone number to report violations of the rule of six.

The law states that no gathering, indoors or outdoors, may consist of more than six people including children or babies.

While households can still meet as a group of six, with the exception of areas in local lockdown like Birmingham and Manchester, they should still maintain social distancing.

  • Rule of Six means millions in large homes can't have visitors, statistics show

Martin Hewitt, National Police Chiefs Council Chairman, warned people the law is the law.

He told the BBC: “I urge people to be responsible.

“We will use our officers to explain the rule and will encourage people to comply

“And only in circumstances where people refuse to comply will we move to issuing fines and taking enforcement action.”

  • BBC
  • Boris Johnson
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