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  1. New police team launched for lockdown breaches

    Press Association

    Two police officers
    Image caption: The money will also be used to fund electric bikes for officers in the team when on patrol, and additional police cars in a distinctive livery

    A police force is establishing a dedicated team to attend reports of breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

    Avon and Somerset Police are using extra funding provided by the Government for forces to tackle the pandemic.

    Approximately £680,000 has been granted to Avon and Somerset to fund the Covid-19 team.

    Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Watson, of Avon and Somerset Police, said demand for non-Covid police matters had dropped during the national lockdown.

    "However, the situation is different six months on, as demand for police attendance has increased to pre-lockdown levels," she said.

    "Officers have responded magnificently, but combining traditional policing priorities with additional Covid-19 work is a challenge for forces across the country.

    "By creating this dedicated team, it will enable those officers to concentrate on dealing with reports coming in and proactively police areas where problems have previously occurred."

    Response and neighbourhood officers will continue to enforce Covid-19 rules where necessary.

    The force has dedicated resources in the control room and in communities, who will respond to breaches of Covid-19 regulations reported to the police seven days a week.

    Since lockdown was introduced in March, the force has issued 413 fixed penalty notices, including 37 since the start of October.

  2. SW Tories sign letter on Manchester Covid restrictions

    Andrew Segal

    BBC South West

    MPs from across the greater South West, including Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire, were among 20 Tories who over the weekend wrote to urge Greater Manchester's mayor to "engage" with the government's coronavirus restrictions, which prompted anger from some of their own colleagues.

    Ministers said Greater Manchester needs to be in the top tier of restrictions, but local leaders said they wanted better financial support before they agree to being moved up to the top tier of rules.

    Local elected mayor Andy Burnham said he wanted the government to re-introduce the 80% furlough scheme used previously in the pandemic to support the low paid affected by tier three closures.

    Four Conservative MPs for the region said the from the 20 MPs letter was unhelpful.

    Meanwhile, further delays to the decision on Greater Manchester's Covid restrictions would "put people's lives at risk", the communities secretary has said.

    Robert Jenrick said he hoped he could reach an agreement with the region's MPs, and Mr Burnham, on Monday.

    Talks are due to continue later after a weekend of discussions.

    The South West MPs who signed the letter included -

    From Cornwall:

    • Steve Double
    • Scott Mann
    • Cherilyn Mackrory
    • Sheryll Murray

    From Devon:

    • Selaine Saxby
    • Anne Marie Morris

    From Somerset: Marcus Fysh

    From Wiltshire: Danny Kruger

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