Police swamped with over 500 complaints of Covid breaches in first week of 'rule of six'

West Midlands Police received more than 500 reports of people breaking Covid measures in just one week.

The force was inundated with calls in the first week of the Government's "rule of six" restrictions, with 525 reports of breaches between September 15 and 20 – nearly 90 a day.

It comes after government ministers, including Home Secretary Priti Patel, urged people to report their neighbours if they saw them flouting lockdown restrictions.

The 'rule of six', which started on September 14, has reduced the number of people who can gather together from 30 to six.

Further restrictions have been announced this week in a bid to control the virus, with pubs closing early, people told to work from home and face masks compulsory for bar staff and non-seated customers, shop workers and waiters.

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West Midlands Police received reports of up to 200 illegal parties each weekend in the four weeks from mid-August, with the force adopting a policy of only using enforcement as a last resort.

The region's Police and Crime Commissioner, Davis Jamieson, said: "Some people will choose to ignore the new measures and they should know that West Midlands Police will be on hand to remind them of their responsibilities in the first instance, but if they continue to flout the rules then officers won’t hesitate to act if lives are being put at risk.

Army

"I would urge people to follow the rules to ensure we can get the virus under control."

Figures on fines and arrests are due to be released in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Mr Jamieson said it was unlikely that the Army would be required to help enforce Covid regulations in the West Midlands.

It comes after Boris Johnson suggested soldiers could be used to guard sites so police officers would be free to respond to calls about breaches.

Mr Jamieson said: "I think it is right that the army haven’t been given extra powers and won’t be doing any enforcement. In truth even if they are required I suspect it would be in a very limited role."

Covid rates have risen sharply across parts of the region in recent days, with Sandwell seeing 244 new cases in the seven days to September 20 at a rate of 74.5, and the rate in Wolverhampton hitting 54.2 after 142 new cases.

Both areas are in local lockdown, with people banned from visiting other households outside their bubble.

Walsall now has a higher rate than Wolverhampton at 55.8 after 158 new cases were recorded, while Dudley's rate also increased to 33.7 on the back of 108 new cases.

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