Cops And Dobbers! Now We Know Who Calls The Police On Covid Rule-Breakers

Jasmin Gray
·2-min read

Picture the scene: It’s a Friday night in 2020, which means just one thing – you’re staying in with a takeaway pizza and a boxset yet again.

But when you go to the door to greet the delivery man (who you are now on first-name terms with), you notice a stream of booze-laden groups going into your neighbour’s house. They’re having an illegal lockdown party.

What do you do? Do you turn a blind eye and retreat to the sofa with your margherita to rewatch Normal People for the third time?

Or do you indignantly get on the phone to the police to report your neighbours? After all, don’t they know there’s a pandemic going on?

According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, just a tiny proportion of us would actually report it if we spotted someone breaking coronavirus restrictions.

Only 6% to 7% of people in England and Wales who spotted people breaching lockdown rules called the police
Only 6% to 7% of people in England and Wales who spotted people breaching lockdown rules called the police

The ONS found that between June and August, around half of adults in England and Wales had spotted someone breaching restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

But only 6% to 7% of these people had gone on to report this rule-breaking to the police, with most people saying they hadn’t done so because they felt it was “too trivial”.

The debate over whether to dob in your neighbours has been raging for months now.

Back in September, policing minister Kit Malthouse encouraged the public to report their neighbours if they spotted them breaking the “rule of six”.

Meanwhile, home secretary Priti Patel said she would “call the police” about rule-breakers on her street.

But just days later, Boris Johnson said he wasn’t a fan of “sneak culture”, saying he would only report his neighbours if they were having “some huge kind of Animal House party” with “hot tubs and so forth”.

So that’s nice, clear advice from the government on that one, then.

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