£60m cash for Covid marshalls to force people to follow virus rules

COUNCILS will be given an extra £60million cash boost to pay for Covid marshalls to force people to follow the rules and snoop on pubs not following social distancing.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick admitted this morning the marshalls could even go "door-to-door" to remind people about restrictions such as the rule of six.

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The new funding will be split between police forces and councils, who both get £30million each to stop people breaking social distancing rules and escalate enforcement of local restriction.

Covid marshalls could be deployed on streets to and as hall monitors and stop them being swamped by crowds as people head home when the 10pm curfew hits.

But they would have to call the police for back up if they wanted to handed out a fine, or stop people gathering in big groups.

Mr Jenrick told BBC Radio 4 this morning: "We're going to ask councils to make the decisions (about what jobs the Covid marshalls are given).

"It will vary in different parts of the country, some councils say if they have a night time economy might deploy people onto the streets to guide and advise members of the public to ensure they are socially distancing.

"They won't have the power to take enforcement action. If there are particularly egregious examples, they would need to escalate that to the police."

The Housing Secretary even admitted they could be going door-to-door to check pubs and restaurants are following social distancing rules, and even remind people in homes.

He said: "In other settings, maybe in a market town, they will be going to the pubs, the bars, the restaurants making sure they are following the Test and Trace procedures, advising them, helping to procure."

"They could go door-to-door. We have seen that in Leicester, where the evidence suggests council leaders who know their community well were very effective when boots were on the ground, going door-to-door in communities."

But they would not be allowed to enter a property if they thought someone was breaking the rules, Mr Jenrick said.

He urged councils to use the money "sensibly".

In Blackpool, a team of more than 60 marshalls have been sent out to patrol the promenade and town centres reminding residents and visitors to follow social distancing measures such as queuing, face masks, and curfews.

In Charnward, Leicestershire, the marshals were spilt into two different types – one to dole out advice to the public and another to check up on pubs and restaurants to ensure "Covid Secure" measures were in place.

Home Secretary Priti Patel warned that the extra money would help cops hand people hefty fines, starting at £200, if they ignore the rules.

She said: “The vast majority of the British public has come together, followed the law and helped prevent the spread of this virus.

“But we’ve been clear that, with infections rising, we will not allow a small minority of people to reverse our hard-won progress.

“This extra funding will strengthen the police’s role in enforcing the law and make sure that those who jeopardise public health face the consequences.”

 

 

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