Police squad deployed to enforce face coverings worn on public transport in West Midlands

Credit: PA Images

A new police task force has been created to make sure face coverings are being worn on public transport in the West Midlands.

The officers are being sent out to bus stations with the power to hand out £200 fines to passengers who don't wear face coverings.

Police officers and staff from Transport for West Midlands and bus operator National Express West Midlands, are among those checking travellers are obeying the rules - unless they are exempt.

Around nine out of ten passengers are wearing masks as the second wave of coronavirus hits the West Midlands.

Since the beginning of October, officers have spoken to over 5,500 passengers about wearing a face covering correctly and have given out around 1,300 free masks.

Six fines of £200 have been handed out to passengers for refusing to wear a face covering.

Who is exempt from wearing face coverings?

In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Children under the age of 11

  • People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability

  • Where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress

  • If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate

  • To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others ‒ including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity

  • Police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public

Credit: PA Images

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson said: “It is vital that people wear their face coverings on public transport to protect themselves, those around them and to help us stop the spread of the virus.“Our Safer Travel team have been doing excellent work in engaging with people on public transport and reminding people of the rules which are there to keep us all safe. Officers have been able to give out over 1,000 masks to people to as well as offering advice on how to wear them properly."

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