Face mask fines to be ‘last resort’, says police commissioner

Posted On 24 Jul 2020 at 7:27 pm

Fines for breaking the new rules on face masks will be handed out only as “a last resort”, Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said today (Friday 24 July).

And police officers will not be asked to patrol shops to enforce the new rules either.

From today, it has become compulsory to wear face masks in enclosed public spaces such as supermarkets, other shops and shopping centres, banks and takeaways.

The rules also apply to the indoor or enclosed parts of bus and railway stations and ports and airports.

And those breaking the rules face a £100 fine, reduced to £50 if paid with 14 days.

Disability charities have urged people to show understanding and compassion for those who are exempt on health or disability grounds because the reason for their exemption may not be visible.

Some shops have said that the rules will be the police to enforce – not their staff – while others have said that they will refuse to serve customers without a mask.

But shop staff themselves are among those who are exempt from the rules.

Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said: “As of today, we will all be expected to wear face masks when visiting stores.

“And, this week, we have heard from retailers and police chiefs asking the public to respect the safety of shop staff and the wider community by taking this approach.

“This weekend Sussex Police will not be routinely patrolling stores.

“But they will still be out and about in our communities and will continue, as they have done throughout this pandemic, to engage, explain and encourage the public to do the right thing, only using enforcement as a last resort.

“I understand that it may be a difficult transition for many people, some of whom may have valid medical reasons for not wearing face masks and we should all be mindful of this fact and not judge too quickly.

“None of us want to see those with exemptions being deterred from shopping for essentials.

“The more people who adhere to the guidelines, the better chance we have of minimising the spread of the virus and the less unnecessary burden we place upon our emergency services.

“Let’s not forget why we are doing this and please remember that, for every police officer who’s called to deal with a difficult customer refusing to wear a face mask, that’s one less officer available to arrest drug dealers, sex offenders and shoplifters.”

Among the companies to say that they do not expect their staff to challenge customers without face masks were Asda, Sainsbury’s and Costa Coffee.

Masks are not compulsory in indoor venues with other safety measures in place such as pubs and eat-in restaurants, hairdressers, gyms and cinemas.

  1. Billy Reply

    Police on patrol? Oh please! Hahahahaha!

    They sit in cars or behind desks due to CONservative party cuts in funding and recruitment over the last decade! 23,500 less front line officers, and 40% less PCSO’s, and counting…

    Just look at the figures, record high numbers of police officers under last Labour Govt, and CUTS under Conservatives (supposedly the party of law and order), not counting all the Courts the Conservatives have closed down in the last decade!

    “In one police force, Norfolk, PCSO numbers have fallen by 100 per cent after the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner cut all posts.”

    “So if we hired 20,000 more police officers but no other members of the police family, total police workforce numbers would still be considerably down on 2010.”


    All FACTS not fiction and easily proven by a quick Google!


  2. jg Reply

    I see most people do not want to wear masks. They do not have any care for those at serious risk from the virus, and are very happy to spread the virus by not wearing masks in shops or crowded areas. This is the reality of most people evidently.

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