Metropolitan Police Federation boss Ken Marsh has revealed police ‘won’t be knocking on people’s doors on Christmas Day’ as he described the Tier 4 restictions as ‘baffling’ amid concerns over how they will be enforced.
Police forces around the south of England have stayed tight lipped on how Number 10’s latest set of restrictions will be imposed.
At an emergency press conference, Boris Johnson announced a third of England, including London and swathes of the home counties, will be shifted up to the brutal new tier from midnight.
Mr Marsh told MailOnline the new rules – which close non-essential retail and ban overnight stays in infection spots – meant little, because Mr Johnson has ‘lost the good will of the people’ over the festive period.
He said: ‘It doesn’t make sense. It’s going to be no different now from how it was.
Boris Johnson speaks at a press conference today, announcing a new Tier 4 in the South East to tackle a new ‘highly contagious’ coronavirus variant
Metropolitan Police Federation boss Ken Marsh told MailOnline the new rules – which close non-essential retail and ban overnight stays in infection spots – meant little, because Mr Johnson has ‘lost the good will of the people’ over the festive period
‘We’re not going to be knocking on people doors on Christmas Day. We have no power of entry.
‘It’s just a shame because I don’t think people are going to take much notice. You’ve lost the goodwill of the public. They’re so frustrated.’
And people in the South East are already threatening to flout the rules after they were told not to see their families for Christmas.
It comes after a MailOnline investigation into the England and Wales’ 43 constabularies uncovered differences in approach ranging from intervening in gatherings to welcoming visitors.
Greater Manchester Police, the Metropolitan Police Service and Merseyside Police all directed enquiries to the NPCC, who issued a statement confirming they could ‘enforce as a last resort’.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council comment said: ‘We understand that this is a period where people want to be with their loved ones, celebrating this holiday.
We police against the regulations that are in law, and everybody has their part to play to help protect local communities and loved ones and we are confident people will adhere to the rules and help us to reduce the risk of transmission.
‘The police’s approach remains to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules in the first instance and enforce as a last resort, where there are clear breach of the rules taking place.’
Social media users reacted in outrage, with some saying they will refuse to comply with the rules.
Others have questioned the enforceability of a ‘stay at home’ message on Christmas day, especially after people were reassured they would be allowed to see their family members over the period.
Chloe Goodwin said: ‘Good luck trying to enforce this. This is not going to happen! I will be enjoying my five days of Christmas still.’
Twitter user Patriot Zoe said: ‘He can go **** himself, I will not be cancelling Christmas for him or any of them!!
‘My family and our well being is more important than the bollocks him and his buddies are trying to impose on us… WAKE UP PEOPLE FFS.’
Another said: ‘My plans are not going to change whatever they might try to enforce.
‘My Christmas is going to be the same as it has been for every other year leading up to 2020. No half arsed rich boy playing power games is going to change that.’
And another wrote: ‘There’s literally no way they’ll be able to enforce this, people aren’t gonna not see family on Christmas.’
David Whig wrote: ‘Think anyone will pay attention to this? Who’s going to enforce the restrictions. This is just getting their excuse in first.
‘Cases go up – you didn’t do as you were told it’s all your fault. Cases go down – cancelling Christmas worked, we were right.’
One wrote: ‘Not Boris being so dumb as to create a tier four rather than just tell everyone to stay home?? as if people in tier four will follow the rules.’
Another said: ‘There is no way that **** Boris is going to **** up my Christmas.’
And another wrote: ‘It’s impossible to enforce, trust me the majority will be with their families this Christmas.’
When asked about people potentially breaking the rules at the press conference this afternoon, Johnson said: ‘Obviously people should obey the rules.’
Asked about how police should enforce the rules on Christmas day, he said: ‘I think the police have done an amazing job of light touch enforcement.
‘They’ve handed over lots of fixed penalty notices for breaches of the rules.
‘I really thank the police men and women across the country for what they have done throughout this period.’
But he believed people would want to follow the rules themselves.
He said: ‘The bulk of the population take this very seriously and get it right and will continue to do so.’
The draconian new Tier 4 means non-essential shops being forced to shut, and travel restrictions including a ‘stay at home’ order for Christmas Day itself.
Mr Johnson insisted just days ago that it would be ‘inhuman’ to axe five-day festive ‘bubbles’.
The rest of England will not escape unscathed, with up to three households now only allowed to mix on Christmas Day rather than between December 23 and 27.
The extraordinary U-turn caused fury among families that have already made plans, booked travel and bought food for reunions.
But a clearly uncomfortable Mr Johnson told the nation tonight that he had ‘no alternative’ but to act after more evidence surfaced about the devastating spread of the new strain.
Although it does not appear to be any more deadly, it is believed to be much more contagious, accounting for an incredible 60 per cent of new cases in London over the past week.
Mr Johnson said it could increase the crucial R rate by 0.4 and be 70 per cent more transmissible than previous versions.
‘We must act now,’ Prime Minister Johnson said. ‘We cannot continue with Christmas as planned.
‘I know how much importance people invest in this time of year and how important it is for grandparents to see their grandchildren and families to be together…
‘But I have said through this pandemic that we must and will be guided by the science.’
He added: ‘There is no alternative open to me.’
London Metropolitan Police have been approached for comment.