Celebrities and other high profile figures were today warned by the Metropolitan Police not to flout the new Tier 2 coronavirus rules as it hit out at a “selfish minority” putting other Londoners at risk.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said that there was “no excuse” for “wilful, deliberate, dangerous” breaches of the regulations banning parties and similar large gatherings and that officers would be ready to take action against organisers and those who attended.
They also follow a series of cases, including a gathering in Chislehurst attended by up to 80 people and a basement music event in Limehouse attended by around 50 people, in which coronavirus regulations have been flouted and the weekend party at a Notting Hill restaurant held to celebrate Rita Ora’s 30th birthday.
The star has since apologised for the “inexcusable” event, which was attended by other celebrities including Poppy and Cara Delevnigne.
Watch: Piers Morgan slams Rita Ora for breaking national lockdown rules with a 30th birthday party
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Twist said he was unable to comment on the investigation into Ms Ora’s party, which he said was still “under review”, but made clear that action remained possible even if cases had to be investigated retrospectively.
“The risk is that the selfish actions of a small minority could jeopardise the efforts of the whole city to control the virus,” he said.
“Everybody has duty to behave responsibly and in line with the law and those with higher public profiles have even greater responsibility because others are looking to them to see what they are doing.
“Some of the breaches we have seen are absolutely wilful, deliberate, dangerous. There is no excuse.
"In those circumstances we will move much more quickly to enforcement because if we don’t take action then all of those people in London, the nine million Londoners that have been largely sticking to the rules, sacrificing their own plans, will wonder why we’re not doing it.”
Mr Twist said that 14 offenders had so far received £10,000 fines for organising illegal gatherings, but that many more cases were still being processed.
He also made clear that police will investigate a minority of cases retrospectively if the breach is deemed serious enough and that those attending unlawful gatherings will risk fines as well as organisers.
He added: “It isn’t only the organisers who are committing offences, it is everybody else who is going there.
“They know that they are going there in breach, they know that they are more likely to contract the virus and contribute to its spread and they know that most of London is complying.
“The vast majority of Londoners will look to us and say what’s going on, I’m abiding by the rules and these people are breaking them.”
Watch: Rita Ora pulls out of TV chat show after birthday party blunder