Enraged Britons have taken to Twitter after the chief of West Midlands Police said officers would break up festive family celebrations for violating lockdown rules.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said on Tuesday in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper that his officers would be ready to break up Christmas celebrations that defy the government’s Covid rules.
“If we think there’s large groups of people gathering where they shouldn’t be, then police will have to intervene. If, again, there’s flagrant breaking of the rules, then the police would have to enforce,” Jamieson remarked.
The police chief argued that it is not an officer’s job to “stop people enjoying their Christmas,” but he added that the police were there to enforce government rules.
One Twitter user claimed that the police were ignoring the real crimes and that they should be wearing brown shirts, a reference to the Nazis’ original paramilitary wing.
@Telegraph West Midlands Police will go into people's homes at Christmas & break up families. It is time The police in Britain start to wear Brownshirts, they are behaving like Brownshirts so if the shirt fits! Whilst murder rape & violence off the Richter scale and ignored
— Mary Hook (@Gormengast1) October 27, 2020
Meanwhile, another user also invoked the Nazi comparison, claiming that the power had gone to their heads
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner "It's not the police's job to stop people enjoying their Christmas. However, we are there to enforce the rules that the Government makes". Everything before the however is bill. These petty Hitler's are enjoying their new powers
— Degsy Roberts (@degsyroberts) October 28, 2020
The former leader of the far-right British National Party, Nick Griffin, called on Britons to rise up in protest. Griffin slammed the “Covid cops” and also shared a photo of a police raid on a church in Cardiff which took place on Sunday.
#covidcops raid a church in Cardiff to enforce lockdown. West Midlands police commissioner says they will smash their way into family homes on Christmas Day.
— Nick Griffin (@NickGriffinBU) October 28, 2020
A number of people also accused the police chief of scaremongering and pointed out the logistics of enforcing Covid restrictions on Christmas Day, claiming there just are not enough police officers to go around.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner says officers will enter homes and separate households if necessary https://t.co/eC1EyCmPVy
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) October 27, 2020
The ‘rule of six’ came into force in the UK on September 14, as the government sought to prevent a second wave of coronavirus by limiting socializing to groups of no more than six people.
The West Midlands is currently subjected to Tier Two lockdown measures, which also prevent households from mixing indoors.
The debate around family gatherings continues to rage as Covid surges across the UK in the run-up to Christmas.
On Tuesday, BBC journalist and news presenter Victoria Derbyshire faced a barrage of criticism after she said that she would break the ‘rule of six’ at Christmas, claiming that she has a family of seven and needed to see her elderly relatives. She later apologized for her comments and vowed to adhere to the rules.The government has already plunged many areas of the UK into local lockdowns, with varying degrees of severity. On Tuesday, the government recorded 22,885 new infections and 367 deaths over the previous 24 hours.