Covid marshals deployed to ‘challenge’ people in street without masks

Covid marshals will “challenge” people in the street not wearing masks.

They will also confront residents who are not social distancing or following other restrictions in Derbyshire.

Amber Valley Borough Council has hired two Covid support wardens to patrol the area, DerbyshireLive reports.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this year he would create an army of Covid marshals to help enforce the rules in town and city centres across the country.

But the plan was widely mocked, with critics claiming the marshals would be the ‘worst kind of busybodies’ snooping around neighbourhoods.

Councillor Paul Lobley said they would help “support” businesses in the borough, which covers Ripley, to comply with coronavirus regulations.

Government guidance says marshals cannot enforce regulations, but can work closely with the council and police to report breaches.

They can explain to residents what the rules are and how to follow them.

The marshals started this week and will patrol from Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.

Cllr Lobley said they have already visited businesses, where they “were able to challenge some members of the public who were not wearing face coverings in our supermarkets”.

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He added: “The businesses appreciated their help with this.

“The wardens will patrol the whole borough on a flexible rota basis so that we are able to react to complaints and enquiries that come into the council.”

Both of the wardens are Security Industry Authority (SIA) registered and wear council branded uniforms, including a hi-vis jacket.

The hours, days, and areas the marshals operate are under “constant review”.

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This is so they can respond “to what could be a very fast paced and changing environment” when lockdown ends or the tier system is reviewed on December 16.

Covid marshals elsewhere are supplied with masks, hand sanitiser and hand wipes.

This is so they can distribute them, as well as clean key contact points such as ATMs and traffic light buttons.

Some are equipped with body-worn cameras so they can snoop around pubs, parties and restaurants to catch people breaking the rules.

Government guidance says: “The role of Covid-19 secure marshals or equivalents is not to enforce Covid-19 regulations, or have any enforcement powers, which should remain the remit of the police and designated local authority compliance and enforcement officers.

“Covid-19 secure marshals or equivalents should instead engage, explain and encourage best practice and national Covid-19 secure guidance.”

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