Police warning: Met chief admits officers could be forced to break up Christmas parties

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The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has insisted that “police have lots of other things to be doing” on Christmas instead of breaking up family gatherings. But she warned that the force will “work with whatever the Government say are the current restrictions”. But when asked by host Nick Ferrari whether her officers would “bang on the door and count the number of people eating the turkey” during the festive period, Dame Cressida said police do not have the authority to enter people’s homes to enforce coronavirus legislation.

Speaking to LBC, Dame Cressida said: “The first thing is, just to acknowledge, we will be here, my teams work 24/7 365, and that’s the great thing about something like this police service.

“It will be there for Londoners, whatever is going on.

“We have no powers of entry, I have no intention anyway of encouraging my people to be barging through people’s doors or knocking on people’s doors, unless you’ve got as we sometimes do, a huge party going on which is clearly very, very dangerous and causing lots of concern.

“For them, we might be knocking on doors, saying, ‘you need to stop this’.

“We don’t know what the rules are, let’s see what they are, but I have no interest in interrupting family Christmas dinners.

“The police have lots of other things to be doing.”

Reports suggest households might be allowed to mix indoors for a five-day period from Christmas Eve, and that ministers are considering plans to allow three or four households to form bubbles.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday there would need to be some rules in place at Christmas but told broadcasters he was keen for people to have “some joy” after a tough year.

Dame Cressida also defended the Met’s policing of the second national lockdown in England following criticism after around 30 officers were pictured attending a north London gym.

Andreas Michli, 34, was issued with £77,000 of fines by Haringey Council after he refused to shut his Zone Gym in Wood Green.

Gyms are included on the list of venues required to close under national COVID-19 lockdown restrictions which came into effect on November 5 in England.

Mr Michli was finally forced to shut the gym last week after police blocked customers from entering the premises and the council obtained a closure order after a hearing at Highbury Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

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Dame Cressida described the incident as a “truly extraordinary case” and said the image of 30 officers had been taken during a “change-over” between two groups.

“I have spoken to the commander in charge there and the person in charge on the day,” she said.

“We wish we didn’t have to do these things, of course.

“People need to comply with the law. I think we handled it well.”

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