HOUSE parties are continuing to give police a headache during the coronavirus lockdown.

Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor for policing and crime Beverley Hughes said there were around 1,000 gatherings, including parties, on Friday and Saturday.

One of the incidents that officers were called to was a birthday party on Wemsley Grove in Tonge Moor on Saturday night where seven people were arrested and fined.

In a video press conference, Baroness Hughes believes the announcement by the Prime Minister last Wednesday in relation to the prospect of relaxing the restrictions made her “very concerned” about what would happen over the coming weekend.

She said: “I think while the majority of people were absolutely compliant with the restrictions, there were a minority that had gathered and behaved in a way that was really not conducive to containing this awful infection.

“And so we saw a considerable increase in large gatherings every day over that weekend.

“Over a thousand actually between Friday and Saturday, house parties and street parties and gatherings.”

Baroness Hughes confirmed “very few” fixed penalty penalties were handed out to people though.

She also believes the latest advice by the Government is unclear.

“With the relaxing of the restrictions I think there's a lot of uncertainty", Baroness Hughes said.

“The message is not clear, the message is stay at home but now you can go out as much as you like.

"For the police the basis upon which they can ask questions is much more limited.

"The only thing they can ask 'who is this you are with' and 'is this a member of your family or not'.

"And I don't think they are actually going to find it very easy or want to get into that kind of territory."

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins aired his views on house parties too.

He said: “The house party issue hasn’t gone away and last weekend was particularly busy with the bank holiday.

“I think people are well aware there is no power of entry with the legislation that we have been using over the last few weeks.

“We have taken people to court for other offences, public order offences.

“We have also done closing notices on a couple of premises as well.

“We will continue to do that in line with local authorities.

“Clearly the guidance has not stopped people being able to go to other people’s houses.

“That has remained the same, you should not be going to other people’s houses.”

The Chief Constable also had a stern message for those still flouting the law during the lockdown.

Leigh Journal:

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins

Mr Hopkins said: “We are still in the middle of a health crisis and people are still dying.

“Please act responsibly, please think about your loved ones and your friends and potentially you’re putting them at risk.

“And we would act you not to do that.

“Where we can use the legislation for those people we will use it.”