Police in Sheffield issue message about new lockdown rules due to come into force on Monday

South Yorkshire’s Police Federation has raised concerns over new rules on social gatherings, fearing officers will be inundated with calls.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 12:28 pm

Gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday as the Government seeks to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.

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The legal limit on social gatherings will be reduced from 30 people to six and will apply to gatherings both indoors and outdoors – including homes, parks, pubs and restaurants.

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A police car is seen patrolling (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Gatherings of more than six will be allowed where the household or support bubble is larger than that, or where the gathering is for work or education.

Exemptions will also apply for weddings and funerals.

South Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Steve Kent.

Failure to comply with the new law could result in a £100 fine, which will double on each repeat offence up to £3,200.

Steve Kent, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said: “The rules need to be put out there and need to be clear.

“The burden of dealing with theses changes does not and should not rest solely at the door of the police.

“However as most officers will testify, policing seems to be at the end point of the flow charts of societal problems and we often end up picking up the burdens of the other similarly stretched public services.

“To this end the officers and staff at South Yorkshire Police are working their socks off and pretty much at their limit already with dealing with the serious crime, domestic violence, anti-social behaviour etc.

"Now they potentially have to add calls for police to enforce these tighter restrictions to that burden.”

He added: “Lets be realistic, it isn’t and shouldn’t usurp the above serious issues, but I hope at that point we won’t see the vilification for inaction and at the other end the accusations of being too heavy handed when we are left with no choice but to enforce, usually the absolute last resort.

“Everybody needs to take responsibility for this to be adhered to and I do not want to see the police as an organisation and more importantly the officers and staff being hung out to dry as the only people to deal with this potential enforcement burden.”

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