Priti Patel says she’d snitch on her neighbours to police under ‘rule of six’


The Home Secretary said it’s people’s ‘personal choice’ whether to call the cops – but added it’s the ‘right thing’ to do to tackle spiralling cases of Covid-19

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The Home Secretary has declared she’d snitch on her neighbours to police if they break the coronavirus ‘rule of six’.

Priti Patel said it is people’s “personal choice” whether to call police on their neighbours but said reporting bad behaviour is “doing the right thing” to fight Covid-19.

It has been illegal since yesterday in England to gather in groups of more than six, indoors or outdoors, of any age.

There are exemptions for school and work – as well as a litany of other reasons like households over six people. Ministers also face fury for making shooting exempt.

People who break the ‘rule of six’ could face a £100 fine, doubling on each repeat offence up to a cap of £3,200.

Yesterday Kit Malthouse, the Policing Minister, said anyone concerned about people breaking the rules could call the non-emergency police number 101.

And today Ms Patel said she would join the ranks of people calling police if she had to.

The Home Secretary told BBC Breakfast “I don’t spend my time looking into people’s gardens” but added: “I think anybody would want to take responsibility and make sure we’re not spreading this awful disease.

Speaking to Sky News she added: “If I saw something that I thought was inappropriate then quite frankly I would effectively call police.

“If there was a big party taking place it would be right to call the police.

“Anyone who is effectively defying the rules, they will be helping to spread coronavirus. That is not a good thing.”

But there are concerns about how over-stretched police will cope with the demand of enforcing the law.

No10 yesterday admitted officers were unlikely to hand out £100 fines on the first day of the law – as they still do not have formal guidance from the College of Policing.

The law bans “mingling” between groups in pubs and makes exceptions for “significant” life events – with one barrister telling the Mirror it will be “impossible” to enforce.

Ms Patel boasted 4,336 police officers have been hired so far under a new recruitment drive. But numbers were cut by more than 20,000 under Tory governments since 2010.

The rule of six launched after coronavirus cases spiralled in England. Imperial College London research claims cases are now doubling every week and the R number is 1.7 – with transmission strongest among the young.

Critics say the rise could be down to a testing crisis that has left people in hardest-hit areas struggling to get a test.

Ms Patel today claimed: “It is wrong to say that tests are not available. New booking slots are being made available every single day.”

But people across areas with extra local restrictions, such as Birmingham and Greater Manchester, have complained of not being able to get tested for Covid-19.


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