COPS are complaining that they are the “villains of the pandemic” as they prepare to crack down on Brits flouting social-distancing rules over the long weekend.
Officers expect an influx of day trippers visiting beaches and parks this weekend with temperatures set to hit 24C in southern parts of the UK.
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They fear there has been a “dilution” of the government’s message to stay at home as the country prepares for a lockdown announcement on Sunday.
Senior officers now feel they are perceived as the “villains” as they set out to remind those celebrating VE Day to adhere to the strict lockdown rules.
One told The Times: “There is a certain amount of trepidation and frustration ahead of the weekend.
“We have always said we need a clear and consistent message from government to the public but there is now a view that things are being relaxed. A lot of people seem to have decided that it is all over.
“We are being asked to enforce the lockdown and we are going to be painted as villains once again when we stop people enjoying the sunshine and having VE Day parties with their neighbours.”
Focres around the country are urging Brits the “think twice” before leaving their homes this weekend.
Officers in Lincolnshire posted pictures of empty beaches to remind locals to stay away and Merseyside cops said they will randomly stop cars to ensure drivers are only making essential journeys.
Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset cops have called for the closure of the road outside the popular tourist spot, Cheddar Gorge.
We are being asked to enforce the lockdown and we are going to be painted as villains once again.
Martyn Underhill, Dorset’s police and crime commissioner, is worried the public with ignore lockdown rules.
He said: “Everything I’m hearing is that the public think the dam is being opened and the door is open on Monday. Police officers have to manage that expectation.
“We are very worried about it because the dilution of the message has already happened before the prime minister speaks.
“We are absolutely not open for tourists. If you cross our borders you will be stopped, you will be turned back and you will be prosecuted.”
It comes after serial lockdown clown Kyle Walker struck a hat-trick of Covid-19 breaches in 24 hours.
The England defender, 29, visited his sister for a party then his parents before cycling near a second pad he is renting.
The Man City star, who had apologised for previously breaching lockdown, could face a police quiz and a £1,000 fine.
A source said last night: “He’s an idiot — pure and simple. How many times does he need to be caught for the message to sink in?
"He’s no better than anyone else — and the message to stay home applies to all of us. I hope the police now take action against him.”
Walker was publicly shamed for previous lockdown breaches last month.
He was first caught breaking social distancing rules by hosting a £2,000 orgy with two hookers and a pal at his flat in Hale.
He had earlier urged the public to follow government guidelines and stay indoors.
Police have vowed to come down hard on repeat offenders after they were granted powers to issue fines of up to £1,000.
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