Daily Express

Po­lice are ‘ swamped’ by snitch call­ers

- By Michael Knowles Home Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent Society · Boris Johnson · Martin Hewitt

PO­LICE forces are putting ex­tra staff in 101 call cen­tres amid fears they are be­ing swamped by the pub­lic snitch­ing on their neigh­bours.

Peo­ple are re­port­ing each other for break­ing “the rule of six” in such large num­bers that se­nior of­fi­cers are wor­ried the sys­tem can­not cope.

Some are only call­ing 101 as a re­sult of grudges with their neigh­bours, sources say.

A se­nior of­fi­cer said: “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.” The po­lice’s role in con­trol­ling the spread of the virus came un­der re­newed fo­cus yes­ter­day as Boris John­son out­lined tough new penal­ties for peo­ple who “brazenly defy” re­stric­tions.

The PM also re­vealed forces will be able to re­quest mil­i­tary sup­port.

But Na­tional Po­lice Chiefs Coun­cil chair Martin He­witt said: “Polic­ing is a unique role and any mil­i­tary sup­port must be as­sessed very care­fully. At the mo­ment, no mil­i­tary in­volve­ment is nec­es­sary, nor do we an­tic­i­pate this will be needed.

“The rise in the spread of the virus should con­cern us all, and it should be ev­ery­one’s pri­or­ity to drive these num­bers down. The coun­try is at a crit­i­cal point, and per­sonal choices will mat­ter in the weeks to come. Po­lice will to with their com­mu­ni­ties and is­sue fines as a last re­sort.”

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