Northumbria Police say they are prepared if North East moved into Tier 3
Police chiefs have said they are prepared for any ‘tier 3’ Covid-19 restrictions being imposed.
The tier 3 lockdown-style measures have been adopted in areas with particularly high levels of infection and would see pubs and bars close, unless they are serving substantial meals.
Indoor household mixing would also be banned with people strongly advised against travelling into and out of the area.
The rules are currently applied to Lancashire and The Liverpool City Region and are set to come into force in Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire.
This is part of the Government’s three-tier strategy of regional measures which aim to avoid a national lockdown.
The LA7 collective – councils in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Northumberland – have been in talks with the Government over a potential move to tier 3, from tier 2.
Northumbria Police, which covers all council areas in the LA7 group, except County Durham, say they have plans in place to meet the challenges extra restrictions could bring.
“If we go to tier 3 we have got plans in place around our approach and our enforcement,”said Chief Superintendent, Janice Hutton.
“We have just got to keep that engagement going forward and trying to encourage our communities to adhere to those restrictions appreciating how difficult it has been for everybody, and that includes everybody around this virtual table, of the challenging times we have had over 2020.”
The police chief was speaking at Tuesday’s (October 20) meeting of the Northumbria Police and Crime Panel, which was held via videolink and broadcast on YouTube.
The comments followed concerns from the panel’s chair, councillor Angela Douglas, about the impact of a ‘very high’ alert level.
Northumbria Police recently revised its approach to enforcement, with around 300 virus breach fines handed out since the middle of September.
While stressing that the force could cope with a tier 3 lockdown, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Kim McGuinness, admitted it would be difficult.
“I can’t really stress enough that the expectation put on forces and on individual police officers during this period has been really great,” she told the panel.
“During the initial lockdown we saw things like burglary and inquisitive crime absolutely bottom out but now that’s back at the sort of levels it was pre-Covid and we’ve also got police officers responding to Covid-related incidents.
“There’s a lot of overtime being paid for, a lot of extra resources required, a lot of PPE and so on, it’s still not entirely clear all of the bits that the Government will fund.
“We have made an ask as an area for additional funding for enforcement throughout the Covid period and that hasn’t really been forthcoming, certainly not at the level that we have asked for.
“So we continue to have those conversations but obviously that is part of the local discussion around tier 3.”
The PCC added: “What I’m not saying is that they won’t manage, Northumbria Police are doing a great job.
“What I’m saying is that it’s difficult.”