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Downing Street parties: What to expect from the Met Police investigation

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The job might be made extra sophisticated by the truth that the foundations – which have been removed from simple – modified repeatedly over time because the pandemic progressed.

The vast majority of gatherings additionally occurred in locations the place the accused labored, so will not be as clear minimize as when a member of the general public was caught, for instance, at an unlicensed music occasion.

As soon as the Met have decided which gatherings have been unlawful beneath the Well being Safety (Coronavirus) Rules, they’ll then have to determine each the organisers and the attendees.

This ought to be comparatively simple as there might be safety swipe card and different data obtainable.

Culprits might be fined

Any one that is recognized as having been at one of many unlawful gatherings will then be contacted in writing or by electronic mail by the police to inform them they are being issued with a fixed penalty notice.

In the event that they want to problem the choice they will reply to the police and supply an evidence as to why they shouldn’t be fined.

This might embrace strategies that it was a case of mistaken identification or that they have been working, quite than collaborating in any lockdown-breaking events.

At this stage they is perhaps interviewed by the police with a view to give their model of occasions intimately.

If their rationalization will not be accepted, the police will then contact the ACRO Prison Information Workplace who will verify the choice to challenge the tremendous and can ship discover by put up.

If the particular person accused of breaching lockdown guidelines needs to combat the allegation, they will choose to not pay the tremendous after which take the case within the magistrates’ courtroom.

What proof does the police have?

The proof was gathered by Sue Grey throughout her investigation and was handed over to Scotland Yard.

Police are anticipated to take weeks to undergo all of the proof earlier than beginning the method of contacting those that they want to tremendous.

The Met has a large cache of evidence together with greater than 500 paperwork and because of the existence of digicam telephones, greater than 300 photos.

In addition to the documentary and photograph proof, the police may additionally depend on a variety of admissions and apologies which have been issued by key figures in current weeks.

There’s additionally a wealth of potential proof saved on Downing St safety and CCTV networks in addition to testimony from law enforcement officials stationed within the space on the time.

Who’s being investigated or questioned and why?

Is it not clear how many individuals are being investigated by Scotland Yard however there are stories that dozens of individuals attended the 12 gatherings now beneath the highlight.

Anybody who was at an unlawful gathering however can not present an inexpensive excuse is prone to be fined.

If the police can set up who was accountable for organising unlawful gatherings, they may very well be in line for a lot increased mounted penalty notices as much as £10,000.

Amongst those that are prone to function in any police investigation are Martin Reynolds, who despatched out the invitation for the notorious ‘convey your individual booze’ occasion; Carrie Johnson, who has been accused of organising two events and Simon Case the highest civil servant who needed to recuse himself from the inquiry when it emerged an occasion had been held in his personal workplace.

James Slack, the previous authorities communications chief, who’s now on the Solar newspaper, has apologised for the anger and damage that was brought on when it emerged he had held a leaving occasion the evening earlier than the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Lastly the Prime Minister, who has admitted attending the Downing Road backyard occasion on Could 20 2020, is prone to be investigated although he has insisted he didn’t realise it was a celebration and thought it was a piece occasion.

How lengthy is the inquiry prone to take?

Scotland Yard has refused to place a timescale on the investigation and there’s no actual precedent for a retrospective probe like this.

Sources throughout the Met have urged it may very well be weeks and presumably even months earlier than folks start to obtain notifications that they are going to be getting mounted penalty notices.

The Met can also be but to determine what number of officers to placed on the investigation. A ultimate determination might be made as soon as all of the proof has been assessed.

However the Met has insisted the investigation should stay proportionate and senior officers might be eager to keep away from criticism that they’re utilizing precious sources on an offence that carries a most penalty of a tremendous, at a time when teenage homicides are at a report stage.

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