DAC Matt Twist reflects on London declaring a major incident in the city’s fight against Coronavirus

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He said: “The announcement that London has declared a major incident in the battle against Coronavirus is a stark reminder of the critical point we are at. Our health service colleagues are fighting this virus every day on the frontline, but the case rate continues to increase and the number of people affected in London is alarming. Now more than ever is the moment for people to stick to the rules, and stay at home

“There can be no doubt that right now we find ourselves at a serious and dangerous crossroads for London; everyone must look at this news and understand that our health service is nearing breaking point. I know Londoners will be shocked that officers are still dealing with a small selfish minority who think the rules don’t apply to them by holding house parties, large warehouse raves or other gatherings. These are creating breeding grounds for the much more transmissible variant.

“These rule breakers cannot continue to feign ignorance of the risk that this virus poses or listen to the false information and lies that some promote downplaying the dangers. Every time the virus spreads it increases the risk of someone needlessly losing their life.

“Earlier this week the Met issued refreshed instructions to officers to issue fines more quickly to anyone committing obvious, wilful and serious breaches. That is happening and it will continue to happen.

“Across the Met we continue to provide a resilient and strong policing service to Londoners. Officers are in communities, fighting crime, protecting the vulnerable and taking action against those selfish people who are putting lives are risk.

“That does not mean the Met is immune to the virus. As London’s biggest single employer, we have of course seen sickness and self-isolation. This is a real concern to us but thankfully owing to a drop in demand in some areas of policing and the fact that some of our staff can work from home, we have been able to flex our officers and remain resilient whilst also supporting the wider partnership effort to keep people safe.

“Finally, my message to the majority who are sticking to the rules is ‘thank you’. You are London’s unsung heroes and your actions are undoubtedly helping to save lives. To those who have broken the rules or are thinking of doing so, I urge you to see the bigger picture otherwise you face enforcement action – and risk losing family or friends and leaving an indelible impact on your community.”