Gus Carter

Cummings may have committed minor lockdown breach, says Durham police

Cummings may have committed minor lockdown breach, says Durham police
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Dominic Cummings may have committed a minor breach of lockdown restrictions during a trip to Barnard Castle, an investigation by Durham police has concluded. The force has said that the journey 'might have been a minor breach of the regulations that would have warranted police intervention'. 

The statement released earlier today says that while his trip up from London to self-isolate in Durham was in line with the regulations, the journey on 12 April might have constituted a breach. The police have also said that if Cummings and his family had been stopped by officers, they would have been asked to return to his father's farm. 

However, the force was at pains to make clear that they considered the journey a 'minor breach' because there was 'no apparent breach of social distancing' and that they would not be taking any further action. 

In response, a No. 10 spokesperson said: 

The police have made clear they are taking no action against Mr Cummings over his self-isolation and that going to Durham did not breach the regulations. 

The Prime Minister has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and legally given all the circumstances, and he regards this issue as closed

You can read the full police statement below: 

On 27 March 2020, Dominic Cummings drove to Durham to self-isolate in a property owned by his father.

Durham Constabulary does not consider that by locating himself at his father’s premises, Mr Cummings committed an offence contrary to regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. (We are concerned here with breaches of the Regulations, not the general Government guidance to “stay at home”.)

On 12 April 2020, Mr Cummings drove approximately 26 miles from his father’s property to Barnard Castle with his wife and son. He stated on 25 May 2020 that the purpose of this drive was to test his resilience to drive to London the following day, including whether his eyesight was sufficiently recovered, his period of self-isolation having ended.

Durham Constabulary have examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle (including ANPR, witness evidence and a review of Mr Cummings’ press conference on 25 May 2020) and have concluded that there might have been a minor breach of the Regulations that would have warranted police intervention. Durham Constabulary view this as minor because there was no apparent breach of social distancing.

Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis. Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken.

In line with Durham Constabulary’s general approach throughout the pandemic, there is no intention to take retrospective action in respect of the Barnard Castle incident since this would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public. Durham Constabulary has not taken retrospective action against any other person.

By way of further context, Durham Constabulary has followed Government guidance on management of alleged breaches of the regulations with the emphasis on the NPCC and College of Policing 4Es: Engage, Explain and Encourage before Enforcement.

Finally, commentary in the media has suggested that Mr Cummings was in Durham on 19 April 2020. Mr Cummings denies this and Durham Constabulary have seen insufficient evidence to support this allegation.

Therefore Durham Constabulary will take no further action in this matter and has informed Mr Cummings of this decision.
Written byGus Carter

Gus Carter is The Spectator's assistant online editor.

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