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Kent police boss says officers should not have power to raid homes of Covid rule breakers

It would be wrong to encourage officers to march into people’s homes to enforce coronavirus restrictions, a policing boss believes.

Kent police and crime commissioner (PCC) Matthew Scott has railed against calls to give bobbies the power to force entry into the properties of suspected rule breakers to check if they are part of the correct bubble.

In an interview with KentOnline, Mr Scott also revealed that he has lobbied ministers to allow officers priority access to the coronavirus vaccine.

He said: “It would have overstepped the mark quite significantly to have police officers marching into people’s properties checking to see if they’re breaching the rules – we can’t be having that.

“The powers they have are sufficient already. We don’t need the regulations to be made tricky for the police.

“It’s not something that PCCs are calling for generally and chief constables don’t want it.

“I think it would damage the contract between the public and the police.”

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott

Mr Scott also denounced West Midlands PCC David Jamieson for advocating calls to hand officers the additional power, by saying his comments were “completely out of place”.

Under new lockdown restrictions, people are prohibited from leaving their homes to socialise with anyone they do not live with or those outside their support bubbles.

The Kent politician also noted that he has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and policing minister Kit Malthouse urging them to move detectives further up the list for Covid jabs.

Despite saying the force has had low sickness levels in the last 10 months, he added that there had been a recent increase in the number of officers who had tested positive for the disease.

“They’re dealing with the public, out catching criminals and are in close proximity to vulnerable people,” he explained.

“There’s a risk that they could catch the disease – through no fault of their own – and spread it around.

“It’s absolutely vital that they get given priority access to the vaccine and I’ll do everything in my power to make that happen, including giving over office space to create a vaccination hub.”

A petition submitted to Parliament to ensure first responders – including police officers – are given the jabs already has received more than 35,000 signatures online.

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