With 1,106 reports of COVID breaches to Greater Manchester Police last weekend alone, a 25% increase on the previous weekend, GMP are urging people to follow the new regulations and keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
New legislation published by the Government last week included additional restrictions on socialising in indoor spaces and allows police to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to those who continue to blatantly breach the COVID legislation.
The tightening of restrictions means that people must not meet people from other households inside a private home or garden, or socialise with them in other indoor public venues.
Following this announcement, GMP increased resources across the 10 boroughs over the weekend to ensure early intervention and engagement with communities on the new restrictions, prevent incidents and large gatherings, and only enforce where blatant breaches of COVID legislation took place.
As part of the new legislation, police are now able to specifically target the rising issue of house parties and social gatherings in households by issuing FPNs to occupants or hosts who encourage a breach of the regulations.
Of the 1,106 reports of COVID breaches to Greater Manchester Police, 540 of those were reports of house gatherings and parties and 48 reports of licensed premises breaching the restrictions.
Police attended 40 of these reports which led to 10 arrests and 11 FPNs being issued. Breaching the legislation not only puts individuals at risk of catching the virus, but also compromises the safety of loved ones, as well as others within the community. This is utterly unacceptable and GMP will take action.
Our proactive approach and close partnership working over the weekend led to an illegal car meet being prevented in Wigan over the weekend, as well as two illegal gatherings in Salford and Rochdale being shut down by officers who attended.
Assistant Chief Constable and Chair of the Local Resilience Forum Nick Bailey said: “As the restrictions have eased, it may seem as though the virus is no longer as much of a threat, however this is absolutely not the case. We are very much still in the middle of a pandemic and are seeing increasing numbers of COVID cases across Greater Manchester.
“I understand that people want to return to normality as soon as possible, but in order for us to be able to achieve this, it’s important that we as a community follow the regulations and guidance to stop any increase from occurring in virus transmissions.
“National figures show that people between the ages of 18-41 have been issued the most FPNs. Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate – absolutely anyone can get ill whether you’re old or young and it’s imperative that we continue to treat this situation seriously and adhere to the rules in order to reduce infection rates. Even though you may not suffer serious symptoms yourself, by breaching the regulations which are put in place for public safety, you could end up spreading the infection to loved ones who may not be so fortunate.
“I would like to remind people to please take note of the new regulations and not meet up with members from other households in indoor spaces. We will continue to engage with the public and explain the new legislation, encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their safety and the safety of others, but where people continually flout the rules, we will act.
“We shall continue to investigate house parties and illegal gatherings and with the new legislation in place, we shall specifically target those who are organising the events and encouraging others to breach the regulations and put others at risk by attending.
“I understand that A-level results are coming out this week and people will rightly want to celebrate. However, please be mindful of the COVID regulations in your celebrations as we do not want to spoil what should be a joyous occasion by issuing FPNs at any house parties or illegal gatherings. It is worth noting that recent spikes in Greater Manchester which lead to the additional restrictions were centred around house parties with 17/18 year olds.
“I would like to ask the public to continue to report breaches of the restrictions. Where there are no immediate risks or disorder, I would ask where possible matters are reported via the online reporting systems which can be accessed via the GMP website, or call 101. We are currently receiving a lot of calls around the regulations and what people are allowed and not allowed to do. If you have any questions regarding the regulations, all information can be found on the Government website.
“Finally, I would like to thank the majority of people who have been following the guidance and playing their part in helping to keep our communities safe. I appreciate that this is a difficult situation and I am incredibly grateful for the personal sacrifices you have all individually been making in order to protect the public and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”