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The Government has been slammed by the Police Federation over its “haphazard announcements” about new coronavirus restrictions in northern England.
Brian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, criticised the quick changes in policy, saying officers had little time to put plans in place.
It comes as the Government announced new restrictions across Greater Manchester and parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire amid a rise in the prevalence of Covid-19.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said late on Thursday night that people from different households in these areas will be banned from meeting each other indoors or in private gardens from midnight.
They will still be able to visit pubs and restaurants, but only with people from the same household.
In England, a further easing of lockdown measures has been postponed a day before they were due to come into effect.
Restrictions due to be lifted on Saturday, including allowing small wedding receptions and reopening bowling alleys and casinos, have been delayed for at least two weeks.
Making the announcement, the Prime Minister warned that the country “cannot be complacent”.
Mr Booth said: “Yet again we are struggling to police – and get to grips with – what can only be described as haphazard announcements made by the Government in relation to tighter Covid-19 restrictions.
“It is an absolute nonsense that we as the police service have not been afforded the time to put things in place prior to an announcement.
“Many people in Kirklees, Calderdale and Bradford will have woken up this morning to the news that they are subject to tighter restrictions on their lives. And it will be up to my colleagues to police these restrictions.
“We must also remember that a lot of the areas subject to lockdown have communities who would have been intending to celebrate Eid and who will now be disappointed by this announcement. And it will be our West Yorkshire Police colleagues who will now be on the front line of having to manage the situation and stop separate households from meeting each other at their homes.”
He urged the community to “work with us on adhering to these new restrictions” and said, “we all need to pull together to keep people safe”.
The chairwoman of Lancashire Police Federation, Rachel Hanley, said the policy changes will be challenging for officers.
“The new measures have come as a huge blow to people who were just starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
“This is no different for our colleagues who live and work in the affected areas.
“The practicalities of policing this latest change in regulations will be challenging, but policing will do all it can to keep the public safe. We do though need the public to support us.
“As per the current guidance, officers will be doing all they can to encourage people to do the right thing, without resorting to enforcement.
“Parts of the new regulations will be difficult, if not almost impossible, to enforce and sadly I fear it will once again be the already stretched police service taking the brunt of peoples’ frustrations.”