People do not have to legally prove they're exempt from wearing masks, Britain's top cop admits

BRITAIN'S most senior cop has admitted people do not legally need to prove they're exempt from wearing a face mask.

Dame Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Met Police, said that it's a "matter for the Government" that people with exemptions don't have to carry around proof.

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Responding to a question about whether people who claim they are exempt from mask laws should have to show evidence, the Commissioner confirmed that Brits don't have to "prove their exemption."

She said on LBC News this morning: "This is a difficult area. The vast majority are complying.

"And the majority of people who don't wear a mask on transport, or in the supermarket, are people who do have an exemption.

"But we know there are other people who aren't and who are being offensive, and it's completely unacceptable.

"Equally though, it's the case at the moment that somebody doesn't have to prove their exemption.

"And that is a matter for the Government."

Dame Cressida Dick then advised shop workers to call the police if people not wearing masks become violent or rude when questioned.


She added: "We can't patrol, and we won't be patrolling all supermarkets.

"That would be impossible, and not appropriate. I think there is a responsibility for store owners and store managers."

This comes as supermarkets have clamped down on people not wearing face coverings by banning them from entering unless they can prove they are exempt.

Retailers have tightened restrictions for shoppers over fears supermarkets are hotbeds for spreading the deadly virus.

Multiple supermarket chains including Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda all announced they would start refusing entry to all those who failed to wear a covering.

The Commissioner also told Brits this morning that if they have serious concerns about neighbours or friends not complying with Covid rules, then they should talk to the police.

She said that the cops already get hundreds of calls a day about people flouting lockdown restrictions, which result in fines.

Dame Cressida Dick added: "Everybody will have a different threshold for how they feel about things.

What are the face mask laws in England?

In England, you must wear a face covering in indoor settings, including but not limited to:

  • public transport
  • shops and supermarkets
  • taxis and private hire vehicles
  • estate and lettings agents
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments
  • libraries
  • post offices and banks
  • museums, galleries, cinemas
  • places of worship
  • community centres

You are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

You should also wear a face covering in indoor places not listed here where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

The police can take measures if members of the public do not comply with this law without a valid exemption.

But, if you have an age, health, or disability reason for not wearing a face covering:

  • you do not routinely need to show any written evidence of this
  • you do not need show an exemption card

Carrying an exemption card or badge is a personal choice and is not required by law.

"If you do have concerns that somebody is persistently not complying with the restrictions and regulations, yes, you should talk to us.

"We're in a health emergency. Everybody else is complying.

"It's not right and it's not fair that other people don't."

Earlier this week, a shopper was kicked out of Sainsbury's by cops for not wearing a face mask.

The unnamed woman, who refused to show proof she was exempt from wearing a face mask while shopping at the store in Kent, was escorted out by police officers.

Heated footage has emerged of the woman challenging the officers over their request for her to show proof of exemption.

The Government website says police can take measures if members of the public do not comply with the face covering law without a valid exemption.

However, on the same page, it also says those with age, health or disability reasons for not wearing a face covering do not “routinely need to show any written evidence of this".

As part of government guidelines, you can be fined £200 for disobeying the rules – again, unless you are exempt.

Fines double each time someone is found in breach of the rules, up until a maximum of £6,400. 


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