Govt urges people to report neighbours for meeting in groups greater than 6

The Government is urging people to report their neighbours if they break the Rule of Six.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse says that anyone worried that people are gathering in groups greater than that number should call a hotline.

It comes after Boris Johnson unrolled the new rules across England today amid fears of a second coronavirus peak.

Social gatherings of more than six people are now against the law and offenders face fines of up to £3,200. The new measure applies to both indoor and outdoor settings

Mr Malthouse told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: “We are in discussions about what reporting mechanisms there might be, but there is obviously the non-emergency number that people can ring and report issues they wish to.”

He added: “It is open to neighbours to do exactly that through the non-emergency number, and if they are concerned and they do see that kind of thing, then absolutely they should think about it.”

Mr Malthouse also told Times Radio he had cancelled his own child’s birthday party to avoid breaking the rules.

“You are speaking to a dad who had to cancel his own kid’s birthday party next weekend,” he said. "You cannot meet socially in groups of more than six in England and that includes children.

It came as Martin Hewitt, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) chairman, denied that enforcement relied on people “grassing up” their neighbours.

He claimed that the rule's success would rather rely on everyone being responsible as he appeared on BBC Breakfast today.

The new rules were published late last night, leaving around 30 minutes until they became law.

The Rule of Six was introduced after a spike in coronaviru s cases across the UK.

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More than 3,000 cases were recorded for the third day in a row on Sunday for the first time since May.

Police are now able to disperse gatherings of more than six people and issue fines ranging from £100 to £3,200.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, who leads the Metropolitan Police’s response to Covid-19, said the force will not hesitate to take action.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the recent rise in cases “makes it clear that more needs to be done to stop the spread of this disease”.

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