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‘COVID cops’ with special spy powers have been hired by councils to snoop on Brits and ensure they are obeying lockdown and the rule of six.

The enforcement officers – some on salaries of more than £34,000 - have been given special powers by authorities to conduct operations “covertly or overtly”.

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4The cops wore masks as they dragged the reveller from his night

They will be given body-cams and other spying equipment to collect information on rule breakers and will also wear plainclothes on undercover stings, the Metro reports.

The new force is expected to be tougher than the marshals – nicknamed ‘covid wombles’ by police officers – who check up on pubs and restaurants and dish out fines if social distancing rules are being broken.

This is because they actually have the power to investigate alleged breaches, rather than just hand out a telling off.


It comes as Brits are nervous their Christmases could be ruined after a police chief warned cops will barge into homes and break up family gatherings if lockdown rules are broken.

David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner said: “If we think there's large groups of people gathering where they shouldn't be, then police will have to intervene.

"If, again, there's flagrant breaking of the rules, then the police would have to enforce.”

But his claim has since been blasted as unlawful by human rights lawyers.

Privacy campaigners say that the new Covid cops are the “worst possible approach” councils could take.

Councils should focus their resources on supporting people affected by the crisis, not treating them like potential criminals.

Madeleine StoneBig Brother Watch

Madeleine Stone, Legal and Policy Officer at Big Brother Watch said: “Hiring undercover officers to enforce guidance that has no legal basis is heavy-handed.

“Councils should focus their resources on supporting people affected by the crisis, not treating them like potential criminals.

“Spying on their residents is the worst possible approach local authorities could take and will only erode the public’s trust in them.”

Brent Council has five vacancies for roles in its regulatory services department based in Wembley, north London.

Pay is listed as £34,418 per annum and the applicant is described as someone who has  “knowledge of law enforcement” and “investigative abilities”.

4Phoney Covid marshals are robbing homes while pretending to check for lockdown rule breaks (file image) 4



The advert reads:  “The role will offer advice and support to the public and business owners, respond to and investigate complaints regarding compliance with guidelines and regulations, carry out spot checks and, where necessary, take appropriate enforcement action to ensure adherence with Covid 19 controls.”

Officers will be tasked with executing “routine or unplanned visits and inspections, covertly or overtly as required, to ensure compliance with current guidance and/or legislation”.

The introduction reads:  “The threats posed by Covid 19 are rapidly changing so the ability to learn new regulations, interpret guidance and provide an immediate public response is essential to this role.”

Ilford, in east London, is another authority that has taken action and already has its Covid enforcement officers pounding the beat.

Earlier this month officers slapped a burger restaurant with a £1,000 fine for serving food four minutes after the 10pm curfew.

While Redbridge Council’s Covid cops, also in east London, have a range of powers under law.

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They wear a council uniform and hi-vis body armed decked out with body-cams and radios as well as taking part in plain-clothes stings.

Cllr Promise Knight, Brent Council’s cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “The public in Brent are clear that where safety is put at risk in our borough, which was so badly hit in the first wave, they want their council to take action which is exactly what we are doing.”

A spokesman for Redbridge Council said it was not recruiting officers and its staff were not undercover.

4Covid Marshals do not have the power to enter your home or issue fines

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Boy, one, shot dead as cops open fire on his ‘kidnapper’ dad’s pickup truck

A ONE-year-old boy was fatally shot as police opened fire on a truck after he was allegedly kidnapped by his own father on Thanksgiving.

The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident in Ontario, Canada – but it remains unclear if the child died by police gunfire.

6A one-year-old died after he was fatally shot amid police gunfire on ThursdayCredit: Rex Features 6The child had been allegedly kidnapped by his own father, who was 33Credit: Rex Features

The Special Investigations Unit said in a statement that Ontario Provincial Police were made aware that a child was allegedly abducted around 8:45am.

Cops soon after located the vehicle of interest – a pickup truck – in the City of Kawartha Lakes and tried to stop it.

The truck then crashed with a police cruiser and a civilian vehicle, police said in a statement.

A cop who was standing outside the cruiser was seriously injured, investigators said.

There was then an altercation between the 33-year-old driver and others.

Three cops fired their guns – and the man driving the pickup was struck, according to police.

The man was airlifted to the hospital in grave condition.

6A pickup crashed into a police cruiser and a civilian vehicle, according to investigatorsCredit: Rex Features 6An incident then occurred, and police fired their weaponsCredit: Rex Features

Cops then found the one-year-old inside the pickup, and discovered he had been struck by a bullet.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, cops said.

Police watchdog spokesperson Monica Hudon told reporters that it was "too early" to know what happened.

"It's too early for us to know why officers fired at the vehicle, and it's too early for us to know exactly what transpired," Hudon said.

Two witnesses described the events to Global News.

"We heard the first vehicle hit the side of the road, so you could tell it was going really fast,” Michelle Barry told the outlet.

Neighbor Tom Deciccio said he answered the door to frantic knocking, and found a woman with her son and a therapist.

He told Global News they "wanted in, for a safe haven" and added " there was something about the husband had left with the little baby."

6Credit: Twitter/ @OPPCommissioner 6Police discovered the one-year-old boy had been struck by a bullet, and he was pronounced dead at the sceneCredit: Rex Features

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique offered his condolences for the family and those injured in the incidents.

He said that officials are investigating the events.

"As a result of a tragic incident today, one child is dead and two others significantly injured, Carrique said in a tweet.

"I ask that @SIUOntario and @YRP be given time to investigate, without speculation on the events as they unfolded.

"Our thoughts & prayers are with those that are suffering today," he added.

As of Friday, cops had not yet said if the boy was killed by police gunfire.

In an update on Friday, police said that an autopsy for the child is scheduled for Saturday.

Police also said they found a handgun in the pickup truck.

The child's father was transported to a hospital in Toronto, where he remained as of Friday afternoon.

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A police officer who was seriously injured in the incidents was also in the hospital as of Friday, cops said. He was said to be in stable condition.

Cops have asked for those with information on the incident to contact the head investigator at 1-800-787-8529.

Those with video may also upload clips to the Special Investigations Unit website.

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