PM’s controversial bike ride did not break the law, says Met Police chief

Shaun Connolly, PA Political Correspondent
·2-min read

Boris Johnson did not break the law when he took a bike ride seven miles from Downing Street, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has said as she called for greater clarity on Covid regulations.

The Prime Minister sparked controversy after it emerged he went on a cycle ride in the Olympic Park in Stratford at the weekend after imposing strict coronavirus restrictions on most of the country.

Labour accused Mr Johnson of hypocrisy over the incident.

Official regulations brought in by the Prime Minister say that exercise is limited to once a day and you should not leave your local area, in a bid to halt the surge in coronavirus cases.

Boris Johnson on his bike in 2016, when he was mayor of London
Boris Johnson cycling in 2016, when he was mayor of London (Yui Mok/PA)

The Metropolitan Police chief said people should stay close to their homes when exercising.

Asked about Mr Johnson’s bike ride, she told the BBC she would not comment on individual cases, adding: “The public are looking to all of us as role models, for all of us in public life, if you like.

“What I can say is that it is not against the law. I think that’s implicit.”

Asked how she interpreted the term “local” regarding exercise, Dame Cressida added: “For me, a reasonable interpretation of that is that if you can… go for your exercise from your front door and come back to your front door.

“That’s my view of local.

“It is complicated. I understand that.”

Asked if Covid guidance should be made clearer, the Metropolitan Police chief said: “Anything that brings greater clarity for officers and the public in general will be a good thing.”

Dame Cressida said Met Police officers had issued 300 notices regarding coronavirus restrictions in a 24-hour period over the weekend.

She said: “Now, whether they all convert into fines that people have to pay is another matter, but we have issued 300 notices for a fine in 24 hours. It’s quite a lot and I think it will encourage more people to recognise we are in a health crisis.

“We have had countless changes in the last year in terms of the restrictions that people are under.

“And so it can be complex both for the public and indeed for my frontline officers to know exactly what the regulations are now.

“And also for all of us as members of the public, what the guidance is.”