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Wiltshire Police Federation

Chairman on face mask law: We simply do not have the resources to face mask monitor

24 July 2020

Policing “simply does not have the resources” to be the face mask monitors in Wiltshire – as new Government laws make wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England mandatory from today (24 July).

That’s the message from Wiltshire Police Federation Chairman Mark Andrews who said the police have limited resources “and the last thing we need is to use these slim numbers to enforce this new law.”

Mark – pictured sporting a mask - called on the public to adhere to the new rules and also for shopkeepers and supermarkets to ensure their customers wear their masks.

Mark said: “The vast majority of Wiltshire’s public have complied with the many lockdown rules brought in by the Government and I thank them for this as it has made our job a lot easier. 

“I am hoping now face coverings have become mandatory in retail outlets we will continue to see the same level of compliance across our communities.

“To assist us I would ask our shops for their support by making the rules of entry crystal clear; if you are not wearing a face covering then you are not coming in.”

Mark added: “Wiltshire Police officers will be there to help stores if needed – but only as a last resort as we simply do not have the resources. 

“We will continue to use the same approach we have done throughout the pandemic of trying to educate and encourage people to follow the rules before going down the enforcement route. 

“It is simple really no mask, no entry - fail to comply and receive a fine of £100.”

John Apter, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, added: "As face coverings become a mandatory requirement in stores, police officers are yet again adapting to a new set of unprecedented laws and guidelines which they wouldn’t have even dreamed of before lockdown.

“Not only is it going to be difficult to police, it is going to be impossible. We simply can't do it. Policing has been stretched like never before.

“There are not enough of us to make this work.”