East Germany was trending on Twitter today after a Home Office minister encouraged people to contact police if they see their neighbours flouting the new lockdown laws.
From Monday, any social gathering of more than six people is against the law, with people facing fines of up to £3,200 if they do not abide by the new measure, which applies to both indoor and outdoor settings.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said concerned neighbours should ring the non-emergency police phone number to report violations.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are in discussions about what reporting mechanisms there might be, but there is obviously the non-emergency number that people can ring and report issues they wish to.”
But the state of the national psyche was called into question following the comments, which appear to have mobilised an army of Covid warriors.
BBC correspondent Lewis Goodall tweeted:
Probably not enough discussion about what‘a happening to our national psychology re Covid and certainly potential effects of being asked to police each other.— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) September 14, 2020
Comments which several other people seemed to endorse:
Pandemic or not, I am really uncomfortable with living in a society where people are increasingly encouraged to spy on each other, turn into snitches and rat on their neighbours. Something deeply disturbing about the direction we are heading in. #RuleOfSix— Nara Hodge (@Nara_Hodge) September 14, 2020
While others went with more humorous responses:
Neighbours up and down Britain today when they think they see a seventh person walk into your house pic.twitter.com/WWcZ4syF0g— shane reaction ☘️ (@shane_reaction_) September 14, 2020
From Eat Out to Help Out to ‘Call the Police on your neighbour if you see them Out’. What a difference two weeks makes.— Liam Young (@liamyoung) September 14, 2020
Report your neighbours to police if they’re breaking rule of six— Jon Jones (@JonJonesSnr) September 14, 2020
Odd, because when members of the public reported numerous sightings of Cummings in the North-West in blatant breach of lockdown, the police decided not to give a fuck.