Police rule out knocking on doors to break up illegal Christmas gatherings

Police will not stop Brits from travelling over Christmas, nor will they knock on doors to break up unlawful gatherings, a top officer has declared.

Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation Ken Marsh said on Monday there was "no way" officers would be conducting door-to-door checks to ensure Tier 4 households are complying with the rules.

That's despite Health Secretary Matt Hancock's insistence that police will be enforcing the harsh new coronavirus restrictions.

With just five days' warning, almost one-third of England's population was told to cancel their festive plans as the long-awaited Christmas bubble scheme was yanked away.

Citing a worryingly infectious new strain of Covid-19 spreading rapidly in London, the South East and the East of England, the Prime Minister announced on Saturday afternoon that Christmas could "no longer go ahead as planned".

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The 16 million people living in Tier 4 are no longer allowed to meet up with any other households at Christmas, while in the rest of the country the promised five-day stretch of festivities has been cut down to just December 25.

Boris Johnson 's last-minute cancellation announced at 4pm on one of the biggest shopping days of the year, is likely to be ignored by many desperate to see their friends and family.

The borders of Tier 4 areas were jammed with vehicles on Saturday evening and London's busiest stations were full of travellers making a last-minute getaway.

  • Chaos at London stations as people cram on trains to beat Tier 4 lockdown rules

On Sunday morning the Health Secretary insisted the cops would "of course" be on high alert for rule-breaking, telling the Andrew Marr Show: "It's the police's responsibility to police the law and the law came into force in the early hours of this morning."

But on Monday Mr Marsh rubbished the claims, saying there was "no way" police would be bothering to check for violations of the Christmas "stay at home" order.

"We won't be knocking on people's doors at all unless there is a large group and noise, i.e. a party or something like that," he told the BBC.

  • Brits vent fury at Boris Johnson after Covid lockdown changes 'ruins Christmas'

"But normal day-to-day households? There's no way that my colleagues will be dealing with that."

He added that if officers are refused entry to a private property they have no legal power to force entry, and called the coronavirus laws a "toothless tiger".

Mr Marsh said earlier the tier system was "baffling" and that he doubted Brits would take much notice of it.

"You've lost the goodwill of the public. They're so frustrated."

British Transport Police is deploying additional officers to patrol the border between England and Scotland, but other regions say they won't try to stop people from travelling between tiers.

Anyone caught breaking the no-gathering rule in England can be fined £200 for a first-time offence.

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