“Rule of Six” Almost Unenforceable, Say Police Chiefs

The “Rule of Six” is almost unenforceable because of the Government’s decision to allow two households to meet outside, say police chiefs. The Telegraph has the story.

Policing chiefs have warned ministers that the “Rule of Six” is virtually unenforceable because of the two-household concession.

As councils began a clear-up of litter left in parks and beaches by people enjoying Tuesday’s heatwave, policing sources told the Telegraph that enforcing the rules had been made “very, very difficult” by the decision to also allow two households to meet outside.

Many threw caution to the wind on Tuesday as beaches, seafronts, parks and promenades were packed in Brighton, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Birmingham and London. In Birmingham, council teams suspended mowing across parks on Wednesday so they could focus on litter picking instead.

“We made it very, very clear to Government that they have made it almost impossible to enforce the ‘Rule of Six’,” said a policing source privy to the discussions.

“It used to be relatively simple. As long as you can count to six, you can enforce it as seven is beyond the rule. Now you could have 26 people in a group, 13 from each household. That makes it very, very difficult. How do you prove that they don’t live in the same house?”

Because of the difficulty of enforcing the “Rule of Six” in light of changes in Government guidelines, police will take a more “permissive” approach than was taken during last year’s lockdowns.

The source said police were taking a more “permissive” approach than in lockdown as more people were vaccinated and infection levels flatlined or fell.

This meant there was less “enforcement” and more “engage, encourage and explain”, although this would revert if infection rates rose again. …

Police chiefs also warned that there were problems over the change in guidance from “Stay Home” to “Stay Local”, which was open to interpretation. “Local to someone with mobility issues is very different to someone who got there in a helicopter,” said a police source. “It becomes an extra element of difficulty when something is subjective.

“We will have people camping out on the Lake District. They will be driving there because it is only a couple of hours to get there. So what do you do?”

The weather has drawn Brits to the beach this week, as well as the slight relaxation of lockdown rules allowing people to travel out of their local areas. The Mail said that the British public “think it’s all over”.

Pictures showed packed beaches, parks and promenades in Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham and London – among others. Today the clear-up began, after parks and beaches were covered with litter, bottles and cans dumped after people partied into the night.

Yesterday, as crowds gathered across the country, Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote a Tweet urging Britons to “enjoy the sun but let’s do it safely”, adding: “We have come so far, don’t blow it now.”

And Visit Devon urged people to only make a trip when it is “safe and legal”, while Visit Cornwall said non-locals should “hold off on your Cornish dreams for a bit longer”. Cumbria Tourism asked people to “follow the guidance”. 

But in Brighton, celebrations continued well into the evening with beachgoers erupting into an impromptu party with flame throwers as huge crowds gathered to watch.

The Telegraph’s report is worth reading in full.

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