LONDON’S top cop has revealed officers will only enforce the wearing of masks in shops “as a last resort”.
Met chief Dame Cressida Dick said she hopes people will be “shamed” into using face coverings rather than having to be fined.
She added the police will only get involved if shoppers without a mask refuse to leave the store or become “aggressive”.
Thames Valley and Devon and Cornwall forces have also said officers will only attend such incidents if they turn violent.
Dame Cressida said cops could intervene after shopkeepers have “tried everything else” to resolve the situation.
She said: “Calling the police should be a last resort for dealing with a mask issue. But of course the law is the law.
“My hope is the vast majority of people will comply and people who are not complying will be shamed into complying or shamed to leave the store by the store keepers or by other members of the public.
“If somebody is concerned about what is going on in their store, yes, of course they should call the police and we will try to assist.”
The PM’s spokesman said owners should only “escalate” matters to the police if people refuse to wear a mask or leave their store.
He added: “The overwhelming majority of the public can be trusted to follow the rules without any need for enforcement action.”
England will follow many other European countries by making the wearing of masks mandatory in shops and supermarkets from Friday morning.
Those who refuse to comply can be hit with a fine of up to £100.
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