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UK Police Line Swamped With Complaints About Coronavirus ‘Rule of Six’ Violations, Media Says

© REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAYPeople sit in a park, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, 14 September 2020
People sit in a park, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, 14 September 2020 - Sputnik International
Early last week, UK Policing Minister Kit Malthouse called on Brits to report their neighbours to the police if they see them violating the government’s ban on social gatherings of more than six people.

The Times has cited unnamed sources as saying that the UK police non-emergency reporting line 101 is swamped with complaints over people breaking "the rule of six" related to containing the COVID-19.

According to the sources, police forces had to put more staff on their phone lines due to a drastic rise in the volume of calls. 

The insiders claimed that lots of people were only reporting minor rule violations or calling just because of grudge against their neighbours. 

“There are discussions about how the 101 system can cope, and whether increased resources need to be looked at across the board. We don't want a situation where people calling about COVID-19 breaches are blocking others from getting through about other, serious crimes,” one of the sources noted.

The developments come after UK Policing Minister Kit Malthouse told the BBC last Monday that members of the public should “absolutely” call the police if they saw groups of more than six in a house next door.

“Police officers will have to assess the situation in front of them but in the end we all have to recognise that we have an individual duty towards our collective health,” Malthouse pointed out.

He was echoed by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said in an interview with Sky News last week that even though she is “rarely at home”, she would “quite frankly call the police” if she sees something that she said “was inappropriate”.  

“It's not dobbing in neighbours, it's all about us taking personal responsibility”, Patel underlined.

Johnson Announces ‘Rule of Six’ COVID-19 Restriction

The Home Secretary spoke after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed earlier this month that “the rule of six” restriction will be introduced in England as of 14 September as the country had recorded a further 2,659 coronavirus cases over 24 hours and another eight deaths at the time.

He explained that the new measure, which will replace current guidance allowing gatherings of up to 30 people, means that two households cannot meet if they make a group bigger than six.

People, some wearing masks queue outside a John Lewis store, in London, Thursday, July 16, 2020. Unemployment across the U.K. has held steady during the coronavirus lockdown as a result of a government salary support scheme, but there are clear signals emerging that job losses will skyrocket over coming months - Sputnik International
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Those who break the rules can be fined £100 ($128), and penalties will double for every further such offence up to a maximum of £3,200 ($4,116).

The number of the confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK currently stands at 394,261 with 41,777 fatalities, according to the World Health Organisation’s latest situation report.

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