Met Police issue weekend warning over large gatherings and games of football

The Met Police have reminded Londoners that restrictions are still in place and certain activities remain banned as the public enjoys a sunny first weekend since lockdown measures were eased.

The police force has issued a statement warning that officers will continue to patrol parks and popular areas of the capital, and will engage with people not complying with the rules.

Enforcement will be used as a “last resort.”

The Met has also announced that Saturday, May 16, will see hundreds of extra police officers hit the street across London, “supporting their local communities.”

The ‘day of action’ will see over 500 special constables and volunteers patrolling parks, conducting weapon sweeps and community engagement.

Surrey Comet:

The Met described it as the “biggest operation” its constables and volunteers have undertaken, all in order to “support and reassure Londoners during the pandemic.”

Eased lockdown measures came into effect on Wednesday, May 13, for the first time since March.

Unlimited exercise, sport activities with your own household and meeting one other person whilst socially distancing are all now permitted.

But the Met’s chief superintendent Karen Findlay has spoken out, stating that Health Protection Regulations are still in place.

Large groups, football games, outdoor parties and not following socially distancing are all in breach of restrictions.

Surrey Comet:

Findlay, Silver Commander for the Met’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, said she wanted to thank the public for their continued effort and compliance so far.

“As we head into another weekend, I would like to ask everyone to continue in the same vein, while the guidance from the Government has changed, restrictions are still in place.

“For this weekend, we appreciate that members of the public will be going outside to open spaces alone, or with members of their household, or with one other member of another household as this will benefit their mental and physical well-being.

“However, it is important to remind everyone that larger groups participating in, for example, games of football or other group sport in the park, outdoor concerts or parties, protest, marches or assemblies are still not permitted.”

Chief superintendent Findlay continued: “The public can expect officers to be out patrolling this weekend; they will be supported by the Mounted Branch and our Special Constables as they continue to engage with the public, explaining the restrictions and encouraging people to comply with the rules.

“In the event of spontaneous or planned mass gatherings taking place in a public space this weekend, officers will engage and encourage people to comply with the conditions in order to reduce the risk to public health.

“The majority of Londoners are listening and adhering to the guidance set out, but where necessary, we will be turning to enforcement as a last resort.

“Our focus is on keeping people safe.”

Surrey Comet | Kingston