Snitches swamp police 101 line with calls about ‘rule of six’ flouters forcing senior officers to man the phones with more staff
- Police in talks over how 101 non-emergency line ‘can cope’ after calls flood in
- Priti Patel and Matt Hancock have told Brits to complain if they see rules flouted
- Boris Johnson, however, played it down, saying he’s not a fan of ‘sneak culture’
Snitches are swamping the police non-emergency number with complaints about people flouting the rule of six – forcing senior officers to man the phones with more staff.
Senior ministers, including Home Secretary Priti Patel, have urged Brits to dob in their neighbours if they catch them flouting lockdown rules.
Speaking to Sky News last week, Ms Patel said: ‘I’m rarely at home but if I saw something that I thought was inappropriate then, quite frankly, I would call the police,’ she told Sky News.
She added: ‘It’s not dobbing in neighbours, it’s all about us taking personal responsibility.’
A week after making the claims, police forces say their local 101 lines have been inundated with calls.
In other coronavirus news today:
- Boris Johnson is expected to set out new lockdown measures later on today
- Pubs and bars are expected to be told to obey a new 10pm lockdown curfew
- The Prime Minister will address the nation at 8pm to set out new Covid-19 rules
- Harsher penalties for disobeying the Rule of Six could also be brought in
Police are struggling to cope with a flood of complaints over people potentially flouting lockdown rules – but some calls have just been neighbours with a pre-existing grudge
Senior police officers have told The Times that forces were having to put additional staff on their phone lines because call numbers had suddenly increased.
They claim that many members of the public were only calling to report minor rule breaks, or sometimes were only calling because of an ongoing grudge against their neighbours.
A senior officer told the paper: ‘There are discussions about how the 101 system can cope, and whether increased resources need to be looked at across the board. We don’t want a situation where people calling about Covid-19 breaches are blocking others from getting through about other serious crimes.’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he would snitch if he found out someone was not self-isolating when they should have been, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked neighbours to only call police if there is a large party going on.
When Mr Hancock was asked by Sky News’ Sophie Ridge whether he would report a neighbour, he replied: ‘Yes, and everybody should.’
His comment came after Boris Johnson had told The Sun: ‘I have never much been in favour of sneak culture, myself.
‘What people should do in the first instance obviously if they are concerned is raise it with their friends and neighbours.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel has encouraged the public to complain to police if they see people flouting lockdown rules
Police in Gwent say their non-emergency line has been flooded with people asking questions about Covid-19 regulations.
Chief Superintendent Mark Hobrough told the South Wales Argus: ‘We’re very much trying to point people to the Welsh government and Public Health Wales sites for up-to-date advice and answers to frequently asked questions.
‘It will help us deal with policing demands rather than be tied up in other ways.
‘Police are being encouraged by the government to issue more fines because so many members of the public were flouting restrictions.’