Police won’t start fining people for breaking ‘rule of six law’ yet, government says

·News Reporter
·2-min read
A police officer advises people to leave the beach during the warm weather in Brighton as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Police will not immediately hand out fines for rule of six breaches. (PA)

Police will not fine people for breaching the new coronavirus “rule of six” initially, the prime minister’s official spokesman has said.

In England, groups of more than six people are banned from meeting except in specific circumstances as of today.

The PM’s spokesman has now said: “What you would expect to happen is for the police to be out today encouraging people to follow the new rules but in the coming days, if we see people continuing to flout the new rules, it is right that people could face a fine.

Watch: What is the ‘rule of six’?

“The regulations are in place to help to stop the spread of the virus, to protect the NHS and to ultimately save lives.”

More information about how officers will respond to unlawful mingling will be set out by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Number 10 indicated.

Although health secretary Matt Hancock has previously said the new law would simplify rules – praising it as easy enough to sum up in a sentence – it has been criticised as difficult to enforce.

It bans mingling, but does not offer a legal definition of the term.

Human rights lawyer Adam Wagner said: “Is saying hello to someone at a gathering ‘mingling’? What about holding the door open for them?”

He claimed the ban would prove “nigh on impossible to enforce”.

Breaches of the law could result in a £100 fine to begin with, doubling to a maximum amount of £3,200 for repeat offences.

The rule of six, which applies indoors and outdoors, has been introduced after a huge spike in COVID-19 cases.

The UK reported more than 3,000 infections for three days in a row for the first time since May over the weekend.

A total of 3,330 new COVID-19 infections were confirmed on Sunday.

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