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Will any Norfolk councils introduce coronavirus marshals?

PUBLISHED: 14:40 15 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:10 15 September 2020

Shoppers wearing masks in Norwich city centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Shoppers wearing masks in Norwich city centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

The much-heralded coronavirus marshals scheme announced by Boris Johnson is showing signs of falling flat in Norfolk.

So far, none of the county’s seven district councils, nor East Suffolk Council, have revealed plans to have the marshals patrolling their streets.

The Prime Minister revealed the new roles last week, as part of the “rule of six”, the new maximum number for indoor and outdoor gatherings.

The marshals are designed to patrols towns and cities to help ensure social distancing rules are followed.

But Mr Johnson’s vision for a Covid-secure army has not been received well by some of our local councils, which would not be getting any extra money to pay for the marshals.

North Norfolk District Council has rejected the scheme, having seen only one new case last week, giving it the second-lowest infection rate in the country.

In the summer, the council used staff to act as social distancing coordinators to assist businesses, residents and visitors.

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A council spokesman said: “North Norfolk District Council can confirm it will not be appointing covid marshals at this time. This is due to the lack of any government funding for these posts to be created and the fact that our busiest peak season of July/August has now passed.

“As a district due to our age demographic we also do not have a busy night-time economy where regular, larger social gatherings may require this kind of additional management.”

West Norfolk District Council said it would not recruit marshals at this time as resources were already “severely stretched”.

A spokesman added: “If more clarity is provided to show how these marshals would be funded, we might reconsider our position.”

Great Yarmouth Borough Council said it awaited further information from the government before deciding to implement the scheme, while Norwich City Council said it had not yet decided.

Council leader Alan Waters said: “There is nothing wrong with an idea as long as it has money behind it, training, a time for implementation and additional resources for councils who are already working at maximum capacity.”

Broadland, Breckland, South Norfolk and East Suffolk councils have been approached for comment.


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