Face masks are mandatory for those out and about to shop. This measure was taken to ensure coronavirus transmission does not take place at all and threat from the virus is reduced significantly. Now, however recent reports show that the police will refuse to respond to calls about shoppers who are not adhering to this rule.
Devon and Cornwall’s police chief says his officers will only enforce the law on calls that suggest disorder or violence was taking place.
Since the rule was released to the public it was expected to be made mandatory starting from Friday in England. Those who do not adhere to this rule will face fines as high as £100.
Now that the police have spoken up about the issue it is uncertain what will ensure people follow this rule. Forces believe they won’t be able to strictly make people follow the law.
Police officers are now returning to ordinary policing tasks that are a part of their job; therefore they won’t be coming to enforce masks on people at every call.
A police officer from top east London has expressed similar sentiments saying his force cant flock to supermarket aisles to see if people are wearing face masks or not.
Stephen Clayman is a Detective chief superintendent. The police force in Dagenham and Barking, Havering and Redbridge all comes under his command. He is of the opinion that this can simply not become a priority for the forces but they would of course still tend to such issues if the need arises.
He says they have more important issues to tend to like crimes and other dangerous activities taking place in the area.
He says his team will deal with it just like they dealt with other rules of coronavirus. They will encourage and explain to those who are breaking rules and will issue fines only when necessary.
Although he understands how important masks are for the wellbeing of people against coronavirus, he can’t see the police acting any differently because they don’t deem it necessary for police to be patrolling grocery stores in search of unmasked shoppers.
He says the force is yet to hear of the new rules involving the police regarding the mask rule. Only when the new rules will be released will the police know exactly what to do.
Last week environment secretary George Eustice said that shops will have the responsibility to enforce people to wear masks when in their premises.
He admitted however that when it comes to issuing penalties that authority will not be in the hands of shop keepers but in that of the police.
The National Police Chiefs Council said last week that when it came down to face mask issues the police were only allowed to intervene as a last resort.
This means that the health of the country rests in the hands of its public and to what extent they will go to value protective measures such as face masks and social distancing.