Coronavirus restrictions: Extra officers deployed on Liverpool’s streets as local leaders ‘would welcome army’s support’

Extra officers are being deployed on the streets of Liverpool as strict coronavirus restrictions come into force – after local leaders said they would welcome the support of the armed forces.

Merseyside Police chief superintendent Peter Costello confirmed there will be “additional patrols” after the tough Tier 3 measures were introduced in the Liverpool City Region on Wednesday.

He also criticised the “irresponsible minority” in Liverpool city centre on Tuesday night after a crowd of around 100 people gathered – including some who threw drinks at a police car.

A total of 29 COVID-related fixed penalty notices were issued by the force on Tuesday night after it received around 40 calls about breaches of restrictions.

Mr Costello told Sky News that the crowd in Liverpool city centre “was extreme overexuberance from an irresponsible minority”.

“Obviously it’s extremely disappointing to see so many people to choose to blatantly flout the COVID rules and put themselves and other people at risk,” he said.

“Liverpool City Region is now at Tier 3 and at a critical point so it’s vital we pull together to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Mr Costello said the crowd in Liverpool city centre dispersed as officers arrived, no arrests were made and no police vehicles were damaged.

In a joint statement issued ahead of the Tier 3 restrictions coming into force, Liverpool’s Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, City Mayor Joe Anderson and the leaders of the city region’s six local authorities said they “welcome the opportunity to engage logistics and capacity support from the armed forces, working alongside our own local authority staff and public health officials”.

Mr Costello refused to comment on whether Merseyside Police would receive support from the army during the Tier 3 restrictions.

He urged the public to “exercise some common sense” when considering whether to contact police about breaches of COVID-19 restrictions.

“For very serious breaches, I would encourage the public to make contact with the police,” Mr Costello said, before adding: “We have got additional patrols on the streets.”

Mr Costello said serious breaches would include large parties in houses, gardens or halls of residence, or big gatherings in parks.

Liverpool and the neighbouring five boroughs which make up the city region are now subject to country’s strictest coronavirus restrictions, which include the closure of bars, pubs which do not serve meals, gyms, betting shops and casinos.

Residents are also banned from socialising with other households indoors and outdoors, including in private gardens.

Liverpool recorded 3,164 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days to 10 October – the equivalent of 635.3 cases per 100,000 people. This is compared with 555 in the seven days to 3 October.

Liverpool has the third-highest number of hospital admissions for COVID-19 patients in Europe, and more than 95% of the city’s intensive care beds are currently occupied.

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