Police chiefs admit even they don’t understand Covid rules

Even the police are confused over the coronavirus restrictions.
One of the chiefs mixed up tier two and tier three restrictions (Picture: Getty/PA/Rex)

A police chief has admitted even he doesn’t understand the Government’s coronavirus rules, despite being tasked with enforcing them.

Assistant Chief Constable for Hertfordshire Constabulary, Owen Weatherill, said the three-tier system was still too confusing as ‘there are so many different variations’.

The second most senior officer in England in the national policing effort, was yesterday asked by MPs whether separate households can mix under tier two restrictions.

But he could not answer the question, admitting that he was not ‘conversant with every set of regulations’, adding: ‘I’m not going to try to be.’

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He told MPs: ‘I haven’t got the regulations in front of me at the moment, so I can’t give you a definitive answer on that.

‘I will quite openly state there are so many different variations I am not conversant with every set of regulations and I’m not going to try to be, certainly not in this session.’

Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill, who told MPs he was ?not conversant with every set of regulations
Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill, admitted he is not ‘conversant with every set of regulations’

Boris Johnson has repeatedly said the Government launched the tree-tier system with the hopes of ‘simplifying’ rules for the public, following confusion over previous slogans during lockdown.

Another police chief offered to ‘give it a bash’ but also confused the rules, during the virtual Commons home affairs committee meeting.

Lancashire Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: ‘The big one for me moving from tier two to three is your household not mixing with others inside your household – not mixing or going out for a meal with people from another household.’

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Under tier two, separate households are banned from mixing in any indoor setting, including pubs, restaurants and private homes.

However, they are allowed to meet up outside in pub gardens and private home gardens, as long as they are adhering to the rule of six.

Police officers wearing face masks in St Peter's Square, Manchester, as the Government is preparing to impose stringent new coronavirus controls on 2.8 million people after talks with the local leaders for Greater Manchester failed to reach agreement. Leaders have been given until midday on Tuesday to reach a deal, or face unilateral Government action, after 10 days of negotiations failed to reach an agreement.
Manchester joins tier three tonight (Picture: PA)

In tier three, meeting anyone outside your household or support bubble is banned – even outdoors, as pointed out by Labour MP Yvette Cooper who was heading up the meeting.

Mr Rhodes said police ‘don’t have to be experts in this stuff within the first 24 hours’ of new regulations coming into effect, before both police chiefs admitted the rules were not straightforward.

He said his officers were just as confused as the public after trying to deal with numerous changes over the last six months.

Mr Rhodes added: ‘We have tried to tell them they don’t need to be an expert on all this sort of stuff within the first 24 hours. They can be as confused as other people.’

It comes after the prime minister got his own rules on parental visits wrong last week.

He suggested separated parents may not be able to see their children in high-risk areas to a concerned father.

Johnson advised him to check the Government website, adding that ‘there may be restrictions’ preventing his visits – despite guidelines including exemptions for children who live apart from their parents in all three of the new lockdown tiers.

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