Police promise light-touch enforcement of ‘rule of six’

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said that one in four crimes dealt with by Norfolk Constabulary relates to domestic or sexual vi...

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said that one in four crimes dealt with by Norfolk Constabulary relates to domestic or sexual violence. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Norfolk’s chief constable has promised officers will continue the light-touch approach to enforcement in the new era of the ‘rule of six’.

Police say they are confident the majority of people across the county will "respect the rationale" behind the rule of six. P...

Police say they are confident the majority of people across the county will "respect the rationale" behind the rule of six. Picture: Daniel Moxon - Credit: Archant

Simon Bailey said his team’s approach to the new ban on gatherings of more than six people would primarily be one of “encouragement and education”.

As the limit on indoor and outdoor gatherings entered its second day, Mr Bailey said enforcement powers would only be used for “the most flagrant breaches of the law”.

He said: “During the Covid crisis the vast majority of our communities in the county have been sensible and respected the guidelines.

“By and large, they followed the advice that was issued by the government.

Police were not called out to any illegal gatherings in Norfolk on the final weekend before the rule of six comes into force....

Police were not called out to any illegal gatherings in Norfolk on the final weekend before the rule of six comes into force. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images


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“We’ve effectively employed a tactic of engaging and encouraging people on the need to respect the guidelines, and we’ll continue to do that.”

He added: “We only ever used enforcement powers where necessary; as a result of that, I believe the county has fared very well in terms of infection, transmission and death rates.”

MORE: Norfolk has “some of the lowest levels of Covid-19 in England”He said: “I hope as we move forward our communities continue to follow that same pathway, and they continue to respect the rationale behind the rule of six.

“As long as that holds true, we will continue to police in the same manner we have been.

Some families have said the 'rule of six' will be extremely difficult for them to adhere to. Karen Wilton and her family of 1...

Some families have said the 'rule of six' will be extremely difficult for them to adhere to. Karen Wilton and her family of 12, will no longer all be able to meet up in the same place from Monday September 14, when new restirctions on social gatherings come into force in England. Picture: Karen Wilton - Credit: Archant

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“Of course, if people flagrantly breach the guidelines, we will deal with that accordingly.”

Mr Bailey’s reassurance came as crime minister Kit Malthouse encouraged people to report their neighbours for any suspected breaches of the new ‘rule of six’ - leading to fears that police would be inundated with calls.

But National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) chairman Martin Hewitt told the BBC that enforcement of the rule did not rely on people “grassing up” their neighbours.

“It relies on all of us being responsible,” he said.

MORE: Rule of six: here are all the new rulesAhead of the rule being introduced on Monday September 14, police praised Norfolk residents for heeding the “don’t party hard” warning over the weekend.

While police broke up large illegal gatherings in other parts of the country - such as Greater Manchester and Nottingham - police said Norfolk had been “very quiet” on Saturday night, with “no sign” of illegal gatherings.

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