MOST LONDONERS are following the restrictions of the third lockdown – but a small number are involved in flagrant or silly breaches. In response, the Metropolitan Police have made it clear they will enforce the law.
The need to keep Londoners safe has promoted the Metropolitan Police to issue a plea to Londoners to observe the restrictions and thereby help bring the number of Coronavirus infections and deaths down. The force has been working hard – leading to a number of gatherings being broken up, with those attending and organising them having to pay fines.
Breaches of lockdown regulations in East London in the first part of January have been committed by:
•a group of men in Whitechapel, who could not resist the desire to meet up to play dominoes;
•the owner of a gym in Hackney who opened his doors to customers – presumably forgetting that he was not running a food shop;
•a group of men in Hackney who could not resist the yearning to meet up and play cards.
●More recently, police had to break up an illegal “car meet” in Romford. Some 50 vehicles had gathered near Ferry Lane. Perhaps their owners just thought their cars were missing other traffic. Some drivers got out and chatted with each other, while watching other drivers take their cars on a drive around a nearby roundabout, like a dog owner taking their dog for a run. Forty-nine people were reported for breaching regulations.
Over the weekend of 16th/17th January, 140 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issued in Tower Hamlets and Hackney to individuals who had broken the regulations.
●Police broke up a gathering of 40 people having a party in a property in Brick Lane. Some of the miscreants resisted police instructions to leave, with some going but then sneaking back in – or scuffling with police. Three police officers were injured. Three party-goers were arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class B substance,, breaches of Coronavirus legislation and assault on an emergency worker. One police officer had to go to hospital for treatment for broken finger. The incident finished with police issuing a closure order to the owner of the property, preventing it from being rented out for the next three months.
●Over the same weekend, police broke up two parties in a place of worship in Stamford Hill – one early in the day, the other later on. The organiser has been reported and faces a fine of up to £10,000.
●Other breaches found in Tower Hamlets included a mobile phone shop which was open and a bubble tea shop, where up to 80 people were found, many of them queuing close together. Police also found a pub in Dalston which was open and serving members of the public, and they issued FPNs to seven people from different households who had gathered at a property in Romford to have a meal and watch TV.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said, “I would urge Londoners to keep up their compliance with the regulations – the capital has not yet beaten this virus and the risks still very much remain. There can be no doubt that by staying at home, you are helping to save lives by minimising the transmission.
“The NHS is under significant strain and the actions by some people to hold parties or large gatherings is frankly shameful. In those cases where people have made it clear they are prepared to put lives in danger by holding large gatherings, we will move swiftly to enforcement.”
●Read more about this story:
Hackney gym faces find for Covid regulation breach
Second Covid-break fine in Hackney: what’s wrong with them?