Police raided several parties in Manchester this weekend, as Priti Patel prepares to give officers new powers to break up ‘super-spreader’ functions of more than 15 people.
Currently, those who attend parties of less than 30 can be fined £200 for the first offence and there is a £10,000 fine for organisers of large gatherings.
However, under the tougher new plans, every person attending events of more than 15 will be fined £10,000.
News of the crackdown came after police in Manchester blasted a minority of people who still believe they are ‘above the law’ as they broke up house parties over the weekend.
Officers said they issued 110 fixed-penalty notices for Covid-19 regulation breaches since 3pm on Friday, bringing the total issued in the region to 2,600 since August.
Fines were handed out on Saturday night to partygoers at an address in Hulme, and at a property in Greengate, Salford, where police responded to reports of 30 people attending.
Social media photos showed people at the Greengate party drinking champagne and dancing close together.
More photos from a party in Cheetham Hill showed around 20 officers raided a party of more than 50 revellers.
Fines were handed out on Saturday night to partygoers at a property in Greengate, Salford, where police responded to reports of 30 people attending
Police raided a house party of 50 at an address in Manchester last night, though it is unclear if anyone was arrested
Social media photos showed people at the Greengate party drinking champagne and dancing close together
Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to introduce tougher new laws to punish people who breach lockdown guidelines to go to house parties
Under the new plans, every person attending events of more than 15 would be fined £10,000
The Home Secretary’s new rules could be brought into force within days and would emulate the ones brought in by Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland.
The parties weren’t the only examples of rule-breaking in Manchester over the weekend.
In Bolton four people travelling in a car on Friday were fined when their vehicle broke down after they drove from Preston to pick up a takeaway.
Chief Inspector Carol Martin, of Greater Manchester Police, said: ‘The majority of people across Greater Manchester are following the Government’s guidance – we would like to thank them for doing their bit throughout the pandemic. However, there is a minority who think they are above the law.
‘It is incredibly frustrating to those abiding by the rules that some people are showing such a blatant disregard for the current regulations.
‘Not only are they putting their own lives and those of their loves ones at stake, they also risk undoing the hard work of everyone else continuing to make the necessary sacrifices at this time.
‘We would like to reassure people that dedicated teams of officers are responding to reports of non-compliance and are continuing to follow the national lead by engaging with members of the public, explaining the law and encouraging compliance, but our officers will not hesitate to take enforcement action if people are found to be flouting the rules.’
The government launched a hard-hitting Covid advertising blitz last week which warns people ‘don’t let a coffee cost lives’ as ministers say police will tackle people flouting the lockdown amid a mass crackdown.
No10 released two new posters, with one showing masked people queuing outside while a caption claims that around one in three people are carrying coronavirus with no symptoms.
The red and yellow ad warns: ‘If you’re getting a takeaway coffee, remember to wash your hands, cover your face and keep your distance’ – before urging people to ‘stay home, protect the NHS and save lives’.
It comes after Priti Patel said police forces have seen ‘dreadful’ breaches of coronavirus regulations, with police breaking up several illegal raves last night including one held on a London roof-top.
Currently, those who attend parties of less than 30 can be fined £200 for the first offence and a £10,000 fine for organisers of large gatherings
People were heard laughing as they fled the scene in Manchester with chaos erupting after revellers were forced onto the street
The Home Secretary’s new rules could be brought into force within days and would emulate the ones brought in by Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland
Body cam footage showed partygoers escaping from the back entrance as officers moved in
Reports say one man was arrested before being released though Greater Manchester Police have yet to comment
Officers in the capital were said to be ‘astounded’ after being called to break up a party at an industrial unit in Southwark, where they found at least 20 revellers on top of the building.
A party of up to 100 people was also broken up by police in a Hertfordshire village, where alcohol was seized. The events were branded ‘completely unacceptable’ by police who issued Covid fines and made several arrests.
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Ms Patel said the Government was not intending to make the lockdown tougher – but she underlined there will be harsher enforcement and said police were having to ‘break up some really dreadful situations where people are breaching the rules’.
‘It is important that we enforce these rules. Your viewers will see more police officers out and about,’ she said. ‘The rules are clear and the majority of the British public are following the rules.’
Pointing to the huge death toll last week, she said most people understood the need to ‘stop the spread of the virus’. ‘The police will continue to issue fines and enforce against people who are flagrantly breaching the rules,’ she said.