COPS will go into Brits' homes and break up Christmas family gatherings if they break lockdown rules, a police chief has warned.
David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner (PCC), said officers will investigate reports of rule-breaking over the festive season.
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The West Midlands are currently under tier two restrictions, meaning people can't visit friends or family from other households indoors.
Mr Jamieson told The Telegraph: "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.
"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, and if the Government makes those rules, then the Government has to explain that to the public."
Communities preparing to celebrate Hanukkah and Diwali have also been warned to expect visits from cops if they breach coronavirus rules.
And he told the paper he fears Covid rules could lead to violence boiling over in the region shortly, with the end of the furlough scheme "very likely" to push people over the edge.
Heavy-handed police closing down celebrations and enforcing restrictions could lead to riots similar to those sparked by the death of Mark Duggan in 2011, he said.
He said: "We're sitting on a time bomb here.
"We're getting very near the stage where you could see a considerable explosion of frustration and energy.
"Things are very on the edge in a lot of communities and it wouldn't take very much to spark off unrest, riots, damage."
Forces in Manchester, London and Merseyside are also concerned about potential violence, he added.
Jane Kennedy, the PCC in Merseyside, also says she'll call for police to investigate illegal gatherings over Christmas.
Liverpool City Region was the first area of the UK to go into strict tier three measures, which shut bars and pubs where a 'significant meal' cannot be provided to customers.
It comes as gloomy Government scientists warn there's little chance of a traditional Christmas with the family – and all of England will need to be under tier three by mid-December.
The new claim has dashed Boris Johnson’s hopes of a Christmas reprieve from lockdown rules.
The Government’s Sage advisory body has warned that by the festive season, virus rates all over the country will soar past the levels seen in areas already put into the “very high” category.
Today, Environment Secretary George Eustice has insisted that millions of households will be able to have a "good" Christmas – even if gatherings are banned.
He told BBC Breakfast: “Christmas is an important time for families, we recognise that.
“I’m sure that we will be able to have a good Christmas and that families will be able to meet but they may not be able to get together in the larger groups that they normally would.”
Meanwhile, officials have predicted the second wave of the virus could be even deadlier than the first.
No10 believes the death toll this winter is going to be worse than that experienced by Britain in the spring.
The death rate is set to peak at a lower overall number than seen earlier in 2020.
However, deaths are set to stay at the same level for weeks or even months on end.
If the analysis of the second wave is correct, it will mean that the coronavirus death toll could stay steady for longer than it did in March and April.
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said "radical action" would be needed to stem the rise in coronavirus cases, particularly in regions with high incidence of the virus.
Prof Edmunds says a circuit-breaker is needed across the whole country or at least in areas where incidence is high.
"The only way that we can have a relatively safe and normal Christmas is if we take radical action now to reduce incidence – at the very least in high incidence areas – and keep the incidence low across the country by implementing a package of measures to reduce social contacts," he said.
"The notion that we can carry on as we are and have a Christmas that we can celebrate normally with friends and family is wishful thinking in the extreme."
Tier three: what it means for Brits
People living in tier three areas face a range of strict rules.
- You cannot socialise with anybody you don’t live with, unless you have formed a household or childcare support bubble, in any indoor setting or venue – including homes or restaurants.
- You cannot socialise with anybody you don’t live with, unless you have formed a household or childcare support bubble, in any private garden, or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.
- You cannot socialise in a group of more than six in an outdoor public space, like parks.
- Pubs and bars that do not serve substantial meals as a restaurant, like a main lunchtime or evening meal, must also close.
- You can't go to betting offices, soft play centres or casinos.
- You should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK
- You can still go to leisure centres, gyms, fitness centres, beauticians, hairdressers and trampoline centres which are Covid secure.
- You can still make essential journeys but should avoid travelling outside Warrington wherever possible.
- Children can still go to school.
The PM has repeatedly batted off pressure for a second national lockdown, and top medic Professor Jonathan Van-Tam says he believes such measures are 'unfair'.
During a press conference from Downing Street last week, the prof said: "Pretty much everywhere in England is now heating up to some extent.
“We are trying to walk a very fine line in between getting the virus under control in areas where it is out of control while incurring the minimum amount of economic damage in doing so.
“It is clear that in the areas where it is out of control, hard measures are needed.
“But do I think right now it is appropriate to insist on those similar hard measures in, for example, the South West of England or Kent, where levels of the disease are very, very much lower than in the north of England?
“To impose a national firebreak, no I don’t think that’s right and I don’t think that’s right with the epidemiological picture we are seeing.”
A No10 spokesman previously said: "The PM has been clear previously that he is hopeful that in many ways we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas.
"As I say, we've been clear about the ambition to ensure that people may celebrate Christmas as a family this year."
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