Patel ratchets up enforcement

Police make an arrest during a protest in central London support of Julian Assange

‘THERE is still a small minority who refuse to do the right thing and to them my message is clear: if you don’t follow these rules the police will enforce them,’ Tory Home Secretary Priti Patel said yesterday.

She was speaking at the Downing Street press conference at 5pm, flanked by Martin Hewitt, the Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

‘Police officers are moving more quickly to handing out fines when they encounter breaches, and they have my absolute backing in doing so,’ she said.

‘And today I can announce that next week we will be introducing a new £800 fine for those attending a house party, which will double for each repeated offence to a maximum level of £6,400.

‘These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes. The science is clear such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant threat to public health.’

Patel confirmed that 1,290 people have died from coronavirus in the last 24-hours. There were 37,892 new cases.

On Wednesday, the daily death rate reached a record high of as many as 1,800.

She announced that almost five million people had been vaccinated.

Patel added: ‘Our police officers have been given the powers they need to enforce these rules.’

Hewitt said: ‘We have repeatedly made it clear that house parties and other large gatherings should not be happening.

‘We will work closely with government to implement these new regulations.

‘Anyone who organises one will be given a fixed penalty notice and so will everyone who attends.

‘We must deal with a persistent minority. We have more officers out on dedicated patrols taking targeted actions. When we see people who are putting others and themselves in danger we will not waste time to reason with them.

‘Organisers of large gatherings will be getting £10,000 fines. Now, anyone who attends these big parties can expect to receive an £800 fine.

‘We will do everything we can to prosecute those involved with those offences.’