It is understood that Downing Street officials invited as many as 100 people to a “bring-your-own-booze” event in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown in May 2020.
It is the latest in several alleged parties to have taken place at Downing Street during Covid restrictions, which are currently being investigated by senior civil servant Sue Gray.
The question I have is that if Downing Street is found to have broken the rules in general, will the 31 Metropolitan Police officers who received £200 fines for having a charity haircut at Bethnal Green Police Station be given a refund?
On 17th January 2021, two police officers hired a barber to give their colleagues a haircut. The officers who had their hair cut clearly did not want to appear scruffy when dealing with the public. Indeed, part of police regulations is that you have to look presentable when dealing with the public.
But as well as facing lengthy and drawn out misconduct investigations, the officers were also each hit with a £200 fine. And yet when they came into work the following day, they would have been expected to go out and enforce rules which, months later, Downing Street is alleged to have broken.
Or what about the nine police officers who were handed £200 fines for eating breakfast together in a Greenwich Cafe?
If the Downing Street allegations turn out to be accurate, then surely having a “bring-your-own-booze” party is far worse than getting your hair cut so that you look smart for work?
And indeed, having a “bring-your-own-booze” party is far worse than eating breakfast with the colleagues with who you will be spending the next 12 hours with?
Speaking shortly after the 31 police officers were hit with £6,200 of fines, Det Ch Supt Marcus Barnett from the Metropolitan Police said he was “deeply disappointed” in the officers.
“Although officers donated money to charity as part of the haircut, this does not excuse them from what was a very poor decision,” he said. “I expect a lot more of them.
“Quite rightly, the public expect police to be role models in following the regulations, which are designed to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.”
Whilst it is true, that the public expects the police to be role models in following the regulations, surely Government officials should be setting the precedent when it comes to setting an example for us all to follow?
If the Downing Street allegations do turn out to be true, and the rules were broken, then it is only right that our brave emergency workers, who risked their lives to keep us safe during the pandemic, should be refunded the £200 fines they were given for ‘daring’ to have a haircut or for ‘daring’ to eat breakfast with their colleagues?
I have heard some comments that claim the alleged parties at Downing Street were for officials to “let off some steam” as they became increasingly tormented after seeing the statistics in relation to the number of people who died of Covid.
And yet the emergency workers, who were actually seeing what was happening with their own eyes rather than through spreadsheets, were not allowed to “let off some steam” by having a charity haircut or by having breakfast with their colleagues?
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