Lancashire's chief constable says Covid-19 lawbreakers are new "version of anti-social behaviour"

Breaches of Covid-19 regulations have become “another version of anti-social behaviour” for the police according to Lancashire Police’s chief constable.

Chief Constable Andy Rhodes made the comments during a home affairs select committee
Chief Constable Andy Rhodes made the comments during a home affairs select committee

Andy Rhodes told MPs on the home affairs select committee that calls relating to Covid-19 breaches have made up about four per cent of calls to the force and were similar to anti-social behaviour calls with residents complaining about neighbours’ behaviour.

Mr Rhodes said during the meeting: “Covid has become like another version of antisocial behaviour for us. That’s what people are ringing us about.

“Some of the Covid calls we’re getting are normal antisocial behaviour calls – there are 20 people in the park and they shouldn’t be there because of the Covid regulations. We are putting in the same policing response to those things as we’ve always done to some degree.”

He added: “It’s a very difficult area for us to police.”

Mr Rhodes also said the shift of Lancashire’s restrictions from tier 2 to tier 3 had seen some residents have a “last blast”, which saw a rise in incidents over the weekend.

He added that the force is “genuinely not knocking on people’s doors and asking how many people you have round for supper tonight”.

Mr Rhodes has also said varying guidelines were “inevitably” confusing but that uncertainty was becoming an “excuse” for some rule-breakers.

He said: “There’s a world of difference between good people who are doing their best to enjoy themselves and they’re a bit confused, and there are people that are clearly just ignoring the normal rules that the rest of us are trying to abide by.” “Being confused is becoming a bit of an excuse for some people at the moment.”