Tom Cotton Public should not expect heavy handed enforcement of face masks in shop, says police chief
However, as i’ve said before, i can’t really see that happening. We’Re going to talk now to allison hernandez from devon and cornwall police and crime, commission she’s, the actual commissioner uh alison a very good morning, welcome good morning good morning now you put a statement out a couple of days ago. Talking about this particular uh change in the law, uh suggesting that the police would not be in devon and cornwall uh in a position to kind of police it as it were well yeah. One of the things i’ve actually been trying to explain, because i want to make sure public expectation is not raised, that they just start ringing. The police for everybody, who’s not wearing a face mask in a shop that’s, not the aim of the legislation. The aim is to help implore people to wear one and we want shopkeepers to play their part because otherwise they’re going to lose custom. If so, many people are coming in without wearing face masks because people stop going to shop in their shop and obviously the police will be there to support if there’s, something that turns into a disorder assault. You know if it’s getting to a point where people are concerned about their safety uh. Then they can call the police, but just we don’t want routine uh calls around uh people not wearing face masks.
Are you likely to be putting more police out sort of on the streets where the where the shops are to kind of keep an eye on things? Well, we’ve got two things running at the moment.
One is because we’re the number one domestic tourist destination in the country – we have a huge summer surge of visitors – 45 million overnight stays in a normal year. So we already have a summer policing plan which is putting more streets out visibly in places and spaces where the public are going to be. I’Ve. Also, personally introduced a scheme which involves street marshals, which is to help people be reminded of some of the rules while they’re out and about on the streets and we’ve got some of those in a couple of our town centres, uh, where they feel they need a Bit more extra support. Yes, we were talking to one of our guests the other day who said that he’s a doctor. In fact, he said that there was in london a couple of police officers standing outside the tube station, and if everybody was walking into that tube station, not wearing a mask, they were asked to put one on um. Nothing, apparently, you know, came from that as as much as any incidents are concerned, but what’s your actual active advice to your individual officers in terms of how they approach it, what they do if they see somebody trying to go into a shop without a mask on.
Well, obviously, the chief constant constable of our force, as as his all forces, will be directing those officers but uh, obviously clearly what i’m doing is will be speaking to the chief constable.
Seeing how it’s going like we have through the whole of covid and, if need be, we’ll, be doing some scrutiny on on the work that they did as i did with their fixed penalty notices issues, because we were the third top force in the country issuing fixed Penalty notices, so we don’t take the issue lightly, but i just want there to be an awareness that we don’t want the public ringing in, and you know that’s that’s, where the demand will come into our call centers and that will be unsustainable throughout our summer. We have a 10 increase in crime during the summer, so we can’t afford to be distracted, uh. You know where people are concerned about just people not wearing a face mask and are you empowered to do um sort of on the spot? Fines at the moment, the fixed penalty notices is something that is continued since the beginning of lockdown, so they can still be issuing them if the, if police officers feel the need to do so in the right circumstances and at the moment it’s pretty much stopped because What’S overtaken the kovid policing is ordinary policing, because everybody’s out and about now anti social behavior has really increased. Um lots more calls about disorder, alcohol disorder, you’ve seen some of those i’m sure and talked about some of those challenges that we’ve had since we’ve eased lockdown.
So yeah they’ve been very busy doing ordinary policing at the moment.
No, absolutely, and as far as the the holiday makers are concerned, there does seem to be an awful lot of people just from my own anecdotal evidence, uh in devon and cornwall at the moment. Already. Having been on holiday the last couple of weeks yeah and, do you know my biggest concern at the moment? I’Ve met a number of elderly people who literally have had panic attacks when we ease lockdown because they were so frightened to go outside, even though they had their own face, mask and understood the rules. So i think this. This guidance from government is about trying to give people confident to go out, go out and do that shopping and help our businesses thrive. But we’ve got that balance really of making sure that uh we’re not over expecting uh a bit too much of a heavy handed policing approach during this time. But i think, because of the word compulsory, i think that’s what’s, given people the wrong idea, and i think there are some people, certainly who are fed up with the idea that they are being told they must wear a mask and they’re saying to me. Well, we’re not going to go to the shops if that’s the case, so actually it might have the reverse effect on on the economy, possibly possibly, and actually that is everybody’s right and i think people this is. The best thing we can do is give people the advice of how they can stay safe and i’ve always say no matter what is going on around you.
You keep your six foot distance and wash your hands and don’t touch your face. If you, if you’re worried about every what everyone else is doing, you just do that and if you understand the risk in your community, you can decide to choose where you go and what you do, and i think we’ll have to just see how this plays out Over the next few weeks really sure, and in some of the previous cases of punishments being handed out by the police, whether it was an on the spot, fine for for travelling when you shouldn’t have been, and all of that i know the cps had a problem With prosecuting some of these cases because they said they couldn’t work out which laws had actually been broken and we have the same problem with this. Oh we’ll have to wait and see on that as well won’t. We, i think the whole thing is um we’re, all working in this in fast time, um and everyone’s just doing their best to help people follow the guidance, so i think we’re, just gon na have to see how that plays out. I know in terms of fixed penalty notices, you know we’ve got to recoup that money as well so we’re at the point now of are we that will be the next challenge to look at. Have we actually uh people paid their fines uh, and what does that? Look like going forward because, if they’re not and there’s lots of challenges, um it’ll end up being something that won’t be a useful thing to use.
Well, that’s right and also if the law isn’t really enforceable, it’s, not really a law. Is it well, it yeah? I i think the challenge we’ve got at the moment is really: we want the public to understand the risk in their area and take their own and make their own decisions about what they’re going to do, where they’re going to go and all they can do is Listen to the guidance. The thing that we’ve had to do in this crisis is trust the government they have the information that we don’t have about how all of this works, and i think that’s, where we’re at still at the moment, and until we come out of this crisis uh in A little bit more time, we’ll be able to start reflecting on things that might be done differently. Yeah. Do you think it might have been helpful if they actually supplied the mask, because, certainly in spain and other european countries, they were people were given masks? Which kind of i think, because for some people you know to buy a mask for five quid it’s, quite a big out there. Oh, i agree. I was in a shop the other day 5.99. They were selling one of these uh disposable masks for it’s, absolutely shocking. I’M really worried as well. Well, particularly, i think shopkeepers might want to have a a small supply of them, because if you think people who are street homeless and people who are also mentally unwell or unable to comprehend what the guidance or rules mean, they might need a little bit of help.
And you know we want shopkeepers, to try and be helpful, and i know some of our food banks in particular the charities running. Some of those are actually getting a supply of masks to give to some of the most vulnerable people so that they have got them right. Okay. Well, listen! I really appreciate you taking time to talk to thousands thanks very much indeed allison, hernandez donovan, cornwall police and crime. Commissioner they’re talking about the complications of actually policing this entire business because we’ve been speaking about it all week, we will speak about it. Some more coming up after midday, because shopkeepers are not going to want to get themselves into trouble by allowing people into their shops without masks on, but by the same token, they might not feel uh as if they could be confident enough to tell people you can’t.