LOCAL NEWS: Remember the rule of 6 to protect others against coronavirus


Dorset police are asking everyone to do their bit to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, following the introduction of new regulations limiting social gatherings to no more than 6 people. 

The ‘Rule of 6’ came into effect on Monday 14 September 2020 in an effort to stem the recent upward trend in coronavirus infection rates across the country. The regulation means it is now illegal to gather in social groups larger than 6 people inside or outside in almost any location. 

Any illegal gatherings will be disbanded by the police and failure to comply could result in a £100 fine, which can rise to a maximum of £3,200 for repeat offences. 

Dorset Police will be adopting a ‘4 E’s’ approach to the new legislation; engaging members of the  public, educating them about the importance of the legislation, encouraging them to comply with the law and enforcing the fines as a last resort, if necessary. 

Exceptions to the new legislation

There are some groups of people who are not covered by the new legislation: 

  • Those living in the same household, if the number of occupants exceeds 6
  • Schools or other childcare, education or training facilities
  • Workplaces
  • Charities
  • Those providing support to a vulnerable person 
  • Weddings, civil partnerships, funerals or other religious or belief-based life ceremonies (where the limit is now 30 individuals) 

Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya said: “Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a shared effort and Dorset Police will play a part alongside the Government, businesses, hospitality owners, local authorities and others.

“The change to COVID-19 legislation, and subsequent change in the law, means everyone has a legal responsibility to play their part and not gather in a group of more than six people. 

“Demands on Dorset Police are back to pre-COVID levels and indeed have been extraordinary at times this summer. It makes it even more important that people respect the change in the law and take personal responsibility.

“My hope is that in the majority of circumstances where police do challenge a group, people will disperse and no fine will be issued, but the powers are there should officers need them.

“The pandemic has not gone away and everyone must play their part to protect themselves, their families and our communities.

“I know we are seeing large numbers of younger people returning to university in Bournemouth in particular and campus life is likely to be very different with these measures.

“But I would ask everyone to respect yourself, others and comply with the law to make Dorset a safe place for all.

Reporting someone who is breaking the ‘Rule of 6’

If you experience anti-social behaviour or wish to report someone for breaking the new legislation, you can provide full details to Dorset Police online


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