Britain’s most senior police officer has urged the public to report ‘persistent’ Covid rule flouters to police.
She said there is a ‘small minority’ of people failing to comply with the national lockdown with people still holding house parties, and keeping restaurants, pubs and cafes open despite the huge number of daily Covid cases and deaths.
It comes as Dame Cressida raised concerns that her frontline colleagues were not amongst the first to be vaccinated against Covid amid a rise in spitting attacks on officers.
Official statistics released yesterday show a further 37,535 cases of coronavirus were recorded across Britain.
Met Police chief Dame Cressida Dick revealed police in London are receiving ‘hundreds of calls a day’ from concerned people reporting their neighbours for flouting lockdown restrictions
Her comments come amid the news that several police officers have been assaulted by people claiming to have Covid. Pictured: Officers in Hackney on patrol to enforce lockdown rules
Speaking on an LBC radio phone-in, Dame Cressida said: ‘The last thing I’m going to say on national radio is everyone should be shopping everybody. I don’t think that.
‘What I do think is, if you do have concerns that somebody is persistently not complying with the restrictions, with the regulations, then, yeah, you should talk to us.
‘If you feel comfortable to do so, then talk to us.’
Her comments come amid the news that several police officers have been assaulted by people claiming to have Covid.
Dame Cressida said there have been 97 incidents where someone has mentioned or threatened Covid before coughing at an officer, with 48 spitting attacks.
A maskless shopper seen today in a Morrisons in Peckham, south-east London. The woman, who only gave her first name of Gladys, said: ‘I had a mask with me but simply forgot’
Greenwich: A group of five people were seen enjoying a sit-down picnic in Greenwich Park, London , next to a series of bicycles leaning against a tree
Too soon to hug gran… even if she’s had jab! Medic warns public to ‘stay on guard’ as vaccines take ‘several weeks to be fully effective’ – amid fears public will ignore rules once they’ve had shot
Matt Hancock tonight revealed more than 4million Britons have now had a coronavirus vaccine, amid mounting claims that a ‘postcode lottery’ has left vulnerable people in certain areas unprotected
Vaccinated Britons are being urged to ‘stay on guard’ and not violate Covid restrictions.
Ministers have been warned that millions of people could start to ignore coronavirus restrictions once they have had the jab, and police officers revealed they are issuing increasing numbers of fines for egregious lockdown breaches.
Government scientists advising Boris Johnson fear that many people will ‘probably abandon’ social distancing and lockdown rules once they have had the inoculation.
More than 4million Britons have now had a Covid vaccine and ministers believe they are on track to hit the 13.9million target by February 15, which could spell an end to the endless cycle of restrictions.
Whitehall insiders hope most adults will have been inoculated by the end of June.
Professor Janet Lord, director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham, urged caution among those who have already been vaccinated.
Asked whether people who have received the jab can hug their children, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I would certainly advise not to do that at the moment because, as you probably know, with the vaccines they take several weeks before they are maximally effective.
‘It’s really important that people stay on their guard even if they’ve had that first vaccination.’
She also warned against the idea of a coronavirus immunity passport until more is known about transmission of the virus among those who have been vaccinated.
‘People might think (it is a) passport to freedom and even those who haven’t been vaccinated will see those changing their behaviours and think ”Well, why should I bother if no-one else is either?”,’ she said.
‘That’s the real worry we’ve got at the moment.’
It came as police revealed they have handed out nearly 30,000 fines to lockdown flouters in England, taking the total to more than £6million.
Some 126 people have been charged with nearly two thirds receiving a custodial sentence.
The convictions come amid the death of three of the commissioner’s police colleagues, none of whom were police officers.
They died after contracting Covid last week, with the victims including a police community support officer.
In light of their deaths, Dame Cressida said she was ‘baffled’ why frontline officers are not closer to the front of the queue to receive the vaccine.
Calling for more of her officers to have the Covid vaccine so they can better carry out their frontline work, Dame Cressida said Britain should emulate other countries around the globe who have vaccinated their law enforcement.
She said: ‘In cohort five to nine you have people in what I might call my age group and I am baffled really why, but obviously this is a decision that the Government’s made so far on the basis of something called the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), who are experts.
‘But in many other countries, police officers and law enforcement colleagues are being prioritised and I want my officers to get the vaccination.’
The police staff’s have spurred forces across the nation amid a national crackdown on people flouting the strict lockdown.
The Met has issued more than 140 fixed penalty notices (FPNs), totalling £39,000, over the weekend in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney alone.
A further 14 fines were handed to seafood hauliers protesting over the Brexit fishing deal at Whitehall on Monday.
Police across the UK have handed out nearly 30,000 fines to lockdown flouters in England to date, with the fines totalling more than £6million.
Dame Cressida said the force is receiving ‘hundreds of calls a day’ from concerned people, with fines handed out to those who are ‘completely reckless’.
She added: ‘I think it’s quite right that my officers are out there dealing with people, the small minority who are failing to comply, and on occasion issuing tickets, or if they refuse to give their names and addresses, and some people do, then of course they can be arrested.’
But when asked about people refusing to wear face masks in shops, the commissioner said staff should only call police if someone is ‘very rude or violent’.
She said the police will not patrol supermarkets, as the police do not have enough man power to enforce the rules.
Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and M&S have all reintroduced bouncers at the door in their stores to ensure customers are wearing face coverings and socially distancing.
Dame Cressida said enforcing the rules is down to store owners and managers, but recognised the tough nature of the responsibility.
She said: ‘We can’t patrol and we won’t be patrolling all supermarkets – that will be impossible and not appropriate.
‘I think there is a responsibility on stores and store owners and store managers.
‘I don’t under-estimate that on occasion it can be a difficult job.’
Her concerns come amid a rising number of cases of people flouting the lockdown.
Busy scenes on Newcastle Quayside this afternoon as crowds of people walk along the riverfront despite government urging people to stay indoors and maintain social distancing guidelines as the virus continues to spread
Crowds of Britons were seen walking along the seafront in Brighton during England’s third national lockdown. Exercise outdoors is permitted alone, with a household or in a bubble
A man who drove 30 miles for a takeaway and a group gathering in a garden shed became the latest to be issued fines by police enforcing coronavirus rules.
Forces across the UK have also broken up parties and meet-ups and fined people for visiting beauty spots despite lockdown rules.
London’s parks were packed over the weekend some Brits flouted the strict rules by getting together for picnics and driving to parks.
A group of five people were seen enjoying a sit-down picnic in Greenwich Park, London, next to a series of bicycles leaning against a tree.
Brighton’s seafront was jam-packed while Newcastle Quayside was also a bustling hub of activity.
Sunday ramblers also made the most of the sun on the busy seafront at Southsea, Hampshire, despite Boris Johnson urging people to stay at home.
Current restrictions forbid going outside except where the person has a ‘reasonable excuse’, such as work, essential shopping, and exercise.
Yesterday Avon and Somerset Police also announced they were hunting the alleged organiser of a 30-strong gathering at Glastonbury Tor on January 10.
Heathrow Border Force fine 30 arrivals £500 for not having negative Covid test paperwork before letting them into UK – as passengers suffer ‘hour-long wait’ after officials shut e-gates and do more ‘spot checks’
A passenger leaves Heathrow Airport’s Terminal Two this morning with all arrivals having to present negative Covid-19 test
Air travellers continued to face delays after landing in Britain this morning as Border Force officials checked each passenger arriving had a negative coronavirus test following new rules brought in yesterday for UK arrivals.
Officials issued more than 30 fines at London Heathrow Airport on the first day of the new policy.
People can be fined a minimum of £500 for not complying with the rules, but it is understood they are then let on their way.
Queues again built up today in the immigration hall with some travellers reporting having to wait up to an hour before their documentation was checked at Terminal Two, and up to 30 minutes at Terminal Five.
All the electronic passport gates were closed forcing overseas as well as British passport holders to undergo a face-to-face check.
British and European Union passport holders were funnelled into one queue while other passport holders into another.
They had to present their passports, a negative test – in most cases a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) – and locator form listing where their mandatory ten-day quarantine will take place in Britain.
Staff instructed arrivals to keep a 6ft (2m) distance from each other but passengers said people ended up facing each other and cramming together.
Initially, only four officials were checking paperwork but as queues lengthened an additional four Border Force staff were brought in to help.
Molly Jarvis, who arrived on an overnight flight from Atlanta, Georgia, told MailOnline at Heathrow: ‘Lots of people ended up facing each other as they waited.
‘I was a bit concerned about the social distancing and glad to get out. All the e-gates were closed and when I arrived there were only four people at the passport checks. Another four came out.’
Ms Jarvis, a US citizen who lives in London, said the official looked at the time and date of her negative PCR test, adding: ‘They were very thorough and wanted to check what day I had taken the test.
Passengers wear face masks as they walk through the international arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal Two today
Since yesterday at 4am, all arrivals into the UK have to have had negative PCR or antigen lateral flow test no more than 72 hours before boarding their flight.
All airlines ask to see the test and those whose results are out of the 72-hour time frame are denied entry.
Student Nitzan Levenberg, 32, arriving on a flight from Tel Aviv, said she had no complaints about a 20-minute wait to present her documents at Heathrow today.
She said: ‘They asked to see all my documents, including my right to stay in the UK. I was in the British and EU queue and it was moving quite quickly.’
Passengers told MailOnline on the first day of the new policy that they had faced queues of 90 minutes at the border, but Heathrow Airport denied this was the case.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘People should not be travelling unless absolutely necessary and it is an offence to arrive into England without proof of a negative Covid test or a completed Passenger Locator Form.
‘We have also increased Border Force spot checks on arrival, with passengers subject to an immediate fine of £500 for failing to comply with the new rules. Despite these measures, the vast majority of passengers have been moving through the UK border in good time.’
New rules came into force at 4am yesterday meaning all arrivals had to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel.
Passengers are required to show it to check-in staff before boarding their UK-bound flight, and to Border Force guards after landing.
But some travellers found themselves being turned away by their airline and stranded while those allowed to board complained of long, non Covid-secure queues after landing.