Blackburn to see "multi-agency response" in enforcing coronavirus restrictions
A multi-agency enforcement approach will be taken to tackling non-compliance with Covid regulations in Blackburn with Darwen, it has been announced.
The Council and Lancashire Police have said they will be increasing visits to pubs, shops and barbers to ensure that Covid-19 restrictions are being followed, with those flouting the rules being subject to unlimited fines or closure.
Police have said they will also be visiting sports areas and open areas where people may gather for an unlicensed music event or other gatherings.
The borough has one of the highest rates of infection in the UK and is classed as an "area of intervention".
People are currently banned from mixing with other households indoors and in private gardens.
Officials have said they have been receiving calls from the public over concerns that people and places are not adhering to restrictions.
Police say that any breaches will first be met with advice and education, but any further breaches by individuals or businesses will lead to "enforcement".
Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "Our Public Protection Team is working incredibly hard and has undertaken thousands of visits since the beginning of the initial lockdown.
"The majority of the businesses they have visited are adhering to the strict guidelines and I’d like to thank them for their efforts, but we really need to take a hard line with those who are flouting the rules."
Superintendent Andrea Barrow of East Division, said: "We know this approach seems harsh but we have no choice. The rate of infection in Blackburn continues to be high and we know that community transmission is a main factor.
"We want nothing more than to get back to normal, but the only way we will achieve that is to stick to the rules provided by Government – they have been set out in the interest of everyone’s health and safety."
New powers to tackle coronavirus mask refusers as England’s lockdown eases