London police seen as not observing social distancing rules as they clapped on bridge
- London's police have been accused of ignoring coronavirus lockdown rules after gathering on London's Westminster Bridge to applaud health care workers on Thursday night.
- The video they tweeted of the event has been widely shared, as it shows some officers not standing six feet (2 metres) apart as UK social distancing guidelines advise.
- Another video of the scene shows members of the public mingling in crowds, undeterred by police.
- A statement from the Metropolitan Police said: "While many people adhered to social distancing guidance, it appears that some did not."
- The footage prompted accusations of hypocrisy, since the police are charged with making sure other people adhere to the lockdown.
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London's police have been criticised for disregarding social distancing rules by gathering on a bridge in London to join in with applause for health care workers on Thursday night.
The otherwise heartwarming scene on Westminster Bridge, with patrol car lights flashing, was part of a regular ritual in the UK in which people applaud health workers and carers on Thursdays at 8pm. Videos are widely shared on social media with the tag #clapforourcarers.
- The Metropolitan Police tweeted the video with the hashtag soon after, saying: "Thank you to the real heroes. Thank you London ... London is together."
The UK went into lockdown on March 23. Nationwide, the UK's police have been tasked with enforcing social distancing guidelines that advise people to stay around six feet (2 metres) apart, on only essential trips outdoors.
The video, which also included Met police chief Cressida Dick, shows most officers lined up roughly three feet (0,9 metres) apart.
Another view of the scene, in a video tweeted by Damir Rafi, shows people milling about and forming crowds on the bridge.
Rafi wrote: "I'm a doctor working at the hospital that's right there. And yes, I was also somewhat perplexed by the lack of social distancing..."
I'm a doctor working at the hospital that's right there. And yes, I was also somewhat perplexed by the lack of social distancing... — Damir Rafi (@d_rafi1) April 16, 2020
In response to the Met video, one person wrote: "They're not 2m [6 feet] apart and how the hell is that an essential reason to be out. Bl--dy hypocrites." The sentiment was reflected in hundreds more comments.
A spokesperson for the Met said in a statement emailed to Business Insider that officers had been celebrating the work of key workers.
The spokesperson added: "A large number of members of the public also gathered to express their gratitude. While many people adhered to social distancing guidance, it appears that some did not.
"We regularly remind our officers of the importance of social distancing where practical, and will continue do so."
- In March, complaints have arisen from people who believe the police have been overzealous in their efforts to enforce the guidelines, the MailOnline reported.
On March 26, Derbyshire Police tweeted drone footage of people going for walks in the remote hills of the Peak District in northern England. The police said that trips that far away were not "essential travel," although those pictured were observing social distancing.
This move came under criticism from civil liberties group Big Brother Watch as well as former Justice Secretary David Gauke, the BBC reported.
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