Lockdown 'dead in the water' because Boris won't sack Cummings, ex-top cop saysby Jen Mills
The police will not be able to enforce the lockdown because Dominic Cummings has been allowed to keep his job, a former top cop has warned.
Mike Barton, ex-chief constable of Durham Police, said: ‘How on earth are the police supposed to enforce the rules now?
‘What has happened has completely holed the legislation that was introduced to keep people safe below the waterline.
‘It is dead in the water.’
He told the Telegraph that Mr Cummings being seen to be allegedly break the rules undermined the ability of police officers to tell the public what to do.
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The prime minister’s chief aide drove from London to Durham to self-isolate when he and his wife began to show symptoms of coronavirus at the end of March, saying that they did this to secure childcare from family in case they became more unwell.
Boris Johnson has defended the decision, saying any parent following their ‘instincts’ would have done the same.
He is also alleged to have broken lockdown restrictions to visit Barnard Castle, 30 miles away from his parents home, on April 12.
Downing Street said he returned to London on April 14, but another witness claims they saw him admiring the bluebells in the woods near Houghall, in County Durham, on April 19.
Mr Barton said the strong messaging from the government had been helpful but now appeared to be contradicted: ‘In a few minor cases some forces made a few mistakes, but generally the public was very receptive to the message. That has now gone.’
Conservative MP Dehenna Davison, whose Bishop Auckland constituency contains Barnard Castle, tweeted: ‘I sincerely hope that reports that Dominic Cummings travelled to tourist spots in Barnard Castle are not true as I know my constituents would expect those with power to follow the same guidelines and make the same sacrifices we have all had to make during this difficult time.
‘It’s clear that there is much speculation over what Dominic Cummings did and didn’t do.
‘I won’t be commenting further until we have all the facts (and hopefully today’s press conference will help) but if rules have been broken, appropriate action should be taken.’
Mr Cummings is scheduled to make a press statement this afternoon at 4pm.
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