While police have the power to hand out £100 fines on those not complying, at least one police force has already said it won't be taking such measu
While police have the power to hand out £100 fines on those not complying, at least one police force has already said it won’t be taking such measures. Devon and Cornwall police officers will not be intervening unless it is considered a public order offence. The police force said they do not have time to respond to these calls.
Alison Hernandez, police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, revealed officers will not be attending every phone call.
During a meeting with street marshals yesterday, Ms Hernandez said: “The expectation is that they will only come if there is disorder and violence or something associated with it, they are not going to come to every phone call that someone is not wearing a mask.
“Partly that will help with the street marshal teams because that will help to encourage people to follow the guidelines as well.”
Now, Express.co.uk is asking whether police should always fine those who are flouting the face mask law in shops.
Ms Hernandez’s comments come after a survey by the Institute of Customer Service found three-quarters of those in the service industry had faced abuse from customers since the coronavirus outbreak.
More than a quarter claimed they had been physically attacked while working.
Andrew Goodacre, CEO of the British Independent Retailers Association, argued imposing the face mask rule should not be the responsibility of retailers.
He told The Telegraph: “This is not the role of retailers and we would be concerned any such enforcement may lead to a further increase in the number of threats and abuse shop workers in the UK are currently experiencing.”
READ MORE: Face masks UK: Who is exempt from wearing face masks?
“Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply.
“The police have formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine.”
According to the official Government guidance, only a handful of people are exempt from wearing masks.
These include children under the age of 11 or people who are unable to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.
A constable or police community support officer is exempt only in the course of their duty as well as emergency responders such as paramedics or fire officers.
Other people exempt including an official such as a border force officer or those on a car ferry.
The UK has the highest death rate in the whole of Europe and has now surpassed more than 45,000.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been widely criticised for easing lockdown too soon and imposing new measures, such as face masks, months into the pandemic.
Concerns of a more deadlier second wave have also been raised as countries such as Spain and China have seen an increase of new cases.