Detectives investigating allegations of breaches of Covid-19 regulations in Downing Street and Whitehall will by the end of this week begin contacting people believed to have taken part in the events in question to get their accounts.

The officers, from what has been named Operation Hillman, will be sending formal questionnaires to more than 50 people.

This document, which asks for an account and explanation of the recipient’s participation in an event, has formal legal status and must be answered truthfully. Recipients are informed that responses are required within seven days. In most cases contact is being made via email.

Contact is being made with people in relation to each of the eight dates under police investigation:

20 May 202018 June 202019 June 202013 November 202017 December 202018 December 202014 January 202116 April 2021

Detectives, working for the Met’s Special Enquiry Team, continue to examine more than 500 documents and 300 images provided to them by the Cabinet Office and will be requesting further information from the Cabinet Office to assist with the investigation.

There may be also be a need to contact further people in the coming days and weeks – should they be identified as having taken part in an event and having potentially breached regulations.

It should be noted that being contacted does not mean a fixed penalty notice will necessarily be issued to that person. Nevertheless, if following an investigation, officers believe it is appropriate because the Covid regulations have been breached without a reasonable excuse, a fixed penalty notice will normally be issued.

We understand the interest in and impact of this case, and are progressing the investigation at pace. We are committed to completing our investigations proportionately, fairly and impartially.

At the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee on 25th January, the Commissioner set out the approach the Met has taken with regard to breaches of the Health Protection Regulations. This included the guidelines on where the Met would consider investigating breaches retrospectively. The Commissioner’s statement is available here: https://resources.mynewsdesk.com/image/upload/fl_attachment/jkw5qkt5uiwfwesowxeo

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