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Dominic Raab has dismissed claims that the army will be patrolling the streets to enforce coronavirus regulations as “scaremongering”.

It comes after Boris Johnson said in a televised address on Tuesday that more police will be put out on the streets and the Government will use “the army to backfill if necessary”.

Mr Raab told Sky News on Wednesday that the army will not be patrolling the streets but will instead provide assistance and work to “relieve the capacity” of the police.

He said: “I think the suggestion being put around by John Ashworth that they’re going to be out patrolling is frankly scaremongering.”
The Foreign Secretary added that although “huge process” had been made since the peak of the pandemic in March, more measures were now needed to control the spread of Covid-19.

The reality is there will be stronger enforcement – more powers for the police, higher levels of fines – mainly for the small minority of those who haven’t complied with the rules,” said Mr Raab.

“We don’t want them to blow it for the vast majority of people who have complied and end up in a second lockdown.

The issue with the army is that throughout this pandemic they’ve been used to backfill support and if they can relieve any capacity for the police to do their incredibly difficult job, they will be there to do that.”

Labour is calling on the Government to clarify the Prime Minister’s statements and the shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel demanding answers about the potential involvement the military could have in enforcing regulations.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “This would involve the military backfilling certain duties, such as office roles and guarding protected sites, so police officers can be out enforcing the virus response.  Read More..

 

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