Tower Hamlets Council and local police offices were out in force over Christmas and New Year to ensure businesses and residents understood and were following Covid-19 regulations. 

Dozens of officers were on patrol specifically to target Covid-19 breaches along with violent crime, enforcing where necessary and issuing fines to those who were wilfully and dangerously breaking the rules put in place to keep Tower Hamlets safe. 

Between 22 and 31 December, the team were able to enforce against the following illegal activity:

  • An unlicensed music event at Boulcott Street, El, which was immediately shut down and music equipment seized, with several fines (fixed penalty notices) issued.
  • A house party with over 50 attendees was reported to police on New Providence Wharf, E14. 20 officers attended the location to stop the party and all occupants were issued with a £200 fine before being dispersed.
  • A group of 12 people playing dominoes in a restaurant in Whitechapel were issued fines after the group tried to hide from officers upon their arrival
  • A party on a bus was located on Hertsmere Road, E14 and six more fines were issued

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “It’s shocking to see people having such blatant and wilful disregard of the Covid-19 regulations. These measures are not optional and have been put in place to protect each other and protect our NHS. I want to thank the vast majority of residents in Tower Hamlets who followed the rules over the festive period, making huge personal sacrifices to help curb the spread of the virus. We will continue to work with the police to identify and enforce against those breaching the rules, especially now the instruction is so simple: stay at home unless absolutely necessary.”

The enforcement action over the festive period builds on the work council officers have been doing to provide support and answer queries from businesses and residents in the borough. The council team is made up of four government funded officers alongside staff from environmental health and trading standards. 

The team is out in the borough every day carrying out spot checks such as warning car washes and other non-essential businesses to close. A vape shop in Bethnal Green was recently issued a fine for not following the current restrictions.

The council team also supports police officers to issue fines and enforce against people who are purposefully ignoring the rules and meeting in large numbers, which significantly increases the risk of transmission of Covid-19. 

Chief Inspector Pete Shaw, of the Central East Command Unit, said: “My officers worked incredibly hard over the festive period, putting themselves at risk of catching this virus to keep those in Tower Hamlets safe. It is very disappointing when officers have to deal with groups of people who appear to think that these rules do not apply to them.

“To make it very clear, anyone who is seen to be breaking the rules to hold or attend a house party or an unlicensed music event can expect to be fined by the police and the event shut down. We need to be doing everything we can as a community to try and keep ourselves, our family and friends as safe as possible and to reduce the burden on the NHS. The police don’t want to stop parties and prevent people from having fun, but we are in the grips of a health pandemic, as such you must expect a fine if you attend a large gathering.”

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