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Officers issue fines worth £39,000 after weekend of Covid-19 enforcement

Covid19 Day of Action, Mile End Park -4

Police officers in Mile End Park

More than 140 fines (Fixed Penalty Notices) totalling £39,000 were issued in Tower Hamlets and Hackney in just two days as officers responded to numerous breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

Officers from the council were on patrol alongside local police officers to tackle Covid-19 breaches, offer support and answer queries from businesses and residents in the borough.

On Friday 15 January, officers were called to a house party in Brick Lane following reports from neighbours of loud music. After gaining entry, they found more than 40 people cramped inside. The organiser had hired an AirBnB to host the gathering.

Attendees became hostile and three officers were injured. Three arrests were made for possession of a class B substance, breach of coronavirus legislation and assault on an emergency worker. One officer suffered a broken finger which required hospital treatment.

Shockingly, while officers made arrests and dispersed crowds, some of those attending snuck back inside the premises despite being ordered to go home. A closure order was issued to the owner of the property, preventing it being made available for rent for the next three months.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The Covid-19 measures have been put in place to save lives and protect the NHS. The vast majority of residents in our borough are taking the situation seriously, so it’s only right that we take appropriate action against those flouting the rules and putting people’s lives at risk. We will continue to work with local police to enforce the Covid-19 lockdown so we can keep Tower Hamlets safe.”

At other points during the weekend, officers took enforcement action or referred matters to the council following breaches at a number of non-essential businesses.

Officers also had to intervene and disperse a queue at a bubble tea shop which had attracted between 60 and 80 people. A mobile phone shop in Tower Hamlets was open and serving customers.

Acting Chief Inspector Pete Shaw, Covid lead for Central East BCU, said: “We are almost twelve months into this global pandemic and frankly the rules we must all follow have never been clearer. It is safe to assume that the people who broke the rules this weekend did so willingly and in doing so, put their lives and those of their community at risk.

“Currently, the spread of coronavirus in London is out of control. Hospitals, paramedics and medical professionals across the UK are working tirelessly to meet the needs of people who are extremely ill with the virus. To organise and attend parties and to open non-essential businesses is an insult to these people.

“What shocks me is that people are willing to break these rules and astoundingly, then assault my officers who are doing their best to help keep this virus at bay – wherever possible. We will absolutely not tolerate assault on police officers. It goes without saying that anyone who harms an emergency worker will face the full force of the law.

“I would like to thank Hackney Council and Tower Hamlets Council for their support in delivering this weekend of action. Through our partnership with them, we have been able to take swift and appropriate enforcement action in those cases where people have very clearly and very deliberately broken the rules.”

Posted on Tuesday 19th January 2021