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Following the announcement from Government regarding changes to local restrictions in Greater Manchester and other areas of the North West of England, those living in the affected areas must now not meet people from other households inside a private home or garden or socialise with them in other indoor public venues.
Once the legislation comes into place, Greater Manchester Police will continue with our approach of policing by consent and remain consistent with the four E’s approach that we have taken so far. We will continue to work with our communities. We will engage with people, explain the current circumstances and encourage people to do the right thing in complying with the government guidelines. We will only take enforcement action as a last resort, when people are not listening and putting others at risk.
The guidance around attending licensed premises remains the same in that the premises should be managing social distancing requirements. If it is clear they cannot meet this requirement, and people are not social distancing, then they will be expected to close or face the prospect of police enforcing closure.
This weekend we will be again increasing our resources dedicated to preventing illegal raves and large gatherings. We have already prevented a number of events from taking place, arrested a number of people in connection with the irresponsible organisation of unlicensed and seized equipment. There is a clear risk from attendance at any of these events or gatherings as there are no safety measures in place and we urge everyone to stay away. We understand the frustration of not being able to continue social lives, or visit friends and family, however the risk of Coronavirus is still present and attending events in large groups is in breach of Covid legislation.
Anyone - young and old - can catch coronavirus. If you or someone you’ve been close to tests positive, your life will be put on hold. The long-term health risks are not known and you could put your friends and family at serious risk by breaching the rules and socialising with people outside your household. The only way to stay safe and protect your family and loved ones is by following the guidelines outlined today.
We anticipate that the announced changes - along with the sunny weather forecast – will likely result in a rise in calls to police this weekend as people report potential breaches of the guidelines.
Please remember that if you call us unnecessarily, you are potentially taking a resource away from someone else that may be vulnerable and could urgently need our assistance. The LiveChat function on our website is open 24/7 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response. In addition to LiveChat, you can also report things through our website or by calling 101. Please only dial 999 in an emergency.
I want to assure the public that we will continue to risk assess all calls and enquiries and prioritise our response to those who need it most. We are working with community leaders and partners with our response to any breaches. I would also urge the public to look out for each other, as we have seen across Greater Manchester throughout the pandemic, particularly those who are most vulnerable at this time.
Today also marks Eid al-Adha so many of our Muslim communities will have woken up this morning to find that their celebrations this year may need to be changed at short notice. I can only imagine how upsetting this may be, and our officers will engage with community partners and our Muslim communities with understanding and compassion in the coming days to help explain the guidelines and keep people safe.
Finally I just want to once again say thank you to the people of Greater Manchester for their continued support as we have seen the vast majority of people following the guidelines and protecting those who are most vulnerable in our society.
More information about the changes can be found on the Government website here.
Assistant Chief Constable