Where were the police?

Much has already been written about the revelations – which seem to increase on a daily basis – of illegal gatherings at No 10, but little has been said about the role of the police during those times.

It seems the Met Police have fined over 17,700 people for breaching Covid laws over the last two years, including some for holding gatherings of over 30 people.

So where were they on 20th May 2020? – and on 15th May 2020, 13th November 2020, 27th November 2020, 10th December 2020, 15th December 2020 (according to this timeline)?

The police were, of course, actually on the spot. No 10, naturally, has a high level of security, with uniformed and plain clothed officers present at all times. Did they warn the staff about breaches? And when the offences were repeated why did they not issue fines?

Boris Johnson has now admitted that he attended the event on 20th May – and there are clear photos of his attendance on 15th May.  At the very least the Met Police should investigate. And it should also be taken to task for not investigating at the time.

Ed Davey has also told the media:

Thousands of Londoners have been fined for flouting lockdown rules during the pandemic. It would be double standards of the worst kind for the police to turn a blind eye when those in Number 10 have done the same.

Boris Johnson is taking the public, Parliament and police for fools. We must not let him get away with it.

He has become a threat to health of our nation, and for the sake of the country still gripped by this awful pandemic he must resign.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • Kyle Harrison 13th Jan '22 - 10:48am

    Obviously, those that don’t like Boris will use all this against him, probably fairly. But I can’t get the past the thought that whoever was in No 10 would have fell into this situation. A whole bunch of non- Tory people were involved. It was civil servants organising these things. Even if we had another PM would the civil servants had not still organised these events? As this article highlights, the police were present, again, not politicians, not Tories. Whoever is PM, the same police are there. If you are PM and your civil servants suggest an event, are you going to say no? Now, maybe you will argue yes the PM should have. But isn’t it usually the job of civil servants to be the boring person in the room, telling politicians when they perhaps shouldn’t do something? The people enforcing the tedious rules of how things are supposed to operate? Obviously, the public will just blame Boris. That’s politics. But I think there is a much, much deeper thing going on here that goes beyond Boris.

  • The mystery is why the email was not leaked before. Were there really 100 staffers who were all too fearful or spineless to blow the whistle at the time? That in itself tells us something about the culture at No 10.

  • Kyle Harrison 13th Jan ’22 – 10:48am………But I can’t get the past the thought that whoever was in No 10 would have fell into this situation. …………

    In my lifetime I have seen many, many PM’s come and go..However, I have never seen one who would have behaved as Johnson does; no regard for truth or law..
    The police re-action (and sometimes over-reaction) police regarding the enforcement of ‘gatherings’ (including their heavy handed break up of the vigil to murdered Sarah Everard) is in stark contrast with their repeated refusal to follow reports into the umpteen parties at No.10..
    ‘Equality within the law’ has gone without a trace in this country of ours!

  • Barry Lofty 13th Jan '22 - 2:52pm

    Boris Johnson’s career has been full of lies and self serving arrogance culminating in his long awaited dressing down during PMQT,expats said it all.

  • It’s not at all clear that the law has been broken…

    ‘No, the Downing Street party probably didn’t break the law’ [December 2021]:

    The starting point in the Covid rules should be section 73 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. This part of the Act states that the Covid regulations, at all times, never applied to Crown Land (which includes No. 10). […]

    In addition to the 1984 Act, there were also specific regulations that applied at the time of the alleged party: the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020. According to these rules, gatherings were allowed in all public buildings, or parts of them ‘operated by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body.’ There had to be a risk assessment but a gathering was legal for whole swathes of people. […]

    Steven Barrett is a barrister.

  • @Jeff – Is Government property Crown Land?

    Remember whilst Downing St is probably still Crown Land, number 10 is Government property.

    If this ever gets near a court, the legal arguments are going to be about some real detailed nuances…

  • Nonconformistradical 14th Jan '22 - 7:52am

    “It’s not at all clear that the law has been broken…”

    Where does morality come into it? Or do you think it doesn’t matter?

  • @Jeff –
    And of course COVID respects Crown property boundaries…..

  • “The police were, of course, actually on the spot. No 10, naturally, has a high level of security, with uniformed and plain clothed officers present at all times.”

    This does raise the interesting point about the media, who seem to be a permanent feature of Downing St. Were staff using the front door and thus there should be media recordings of comings and goings or did attendees know they were doing something illicit and thus used the other entrances…

    Mary raises in interesting point; given the number of such events now coming to light, it does seem remarkable that none of this was seemingly previously known to the media. I do wonder how many of those Conservative MPs now calling for Boris to go, attended or had invites to such parties and are only now calling for Boris to go because matters have become public, yet were previously quite happy with their unreported illicit activities.

  • 10 Downing Street and other government departments will be some of the most watched places in the world. Swamped with CCTV cameras, ask Matt Hancock, and no shortage of police officers checking people in and out, including Johnson’s flat. Cressida Dick, head of the Met. could have sorted all this out weeks ago by asking for that CCTV footage and sight of all officer’s notebooks. Personally I would have great sympathy with any officers on duty at the time who would have been caught between a rock and Boris Johnson. It might well be that someone leant on officers to turn a blind eye to what were potentially illegal acts. If that’s the case isn’t that a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice?

  • Nonconformistradical 14th Jan '22 - 11:20pm

    “It might well be that someone leant on officers to turn a blind eye to what were potentially illegal acts. If that’s the case isn’t that a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice?”

    And https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-downing-street-party-b1993596.html is reporting that “Downing Street staff ‘held regular wine-time Friday’ drinks during lockdown
    Boris Johnson said to have witnessed the weekly events”

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