HAMPSHIRE Police “do not have the resources” to get involved when face masks are made compulsory.
It is according to Hampshire Police Federation chair Zoe Wakefield, who said the force does not have any plans.
The government announced that face masks will be made compulsory to wear inside shops and supermarkets from July 24, and that £100 fines will be given to those who don’t comply.
Zoe said: “I don’t believe there are any plans, we just don’t have the resources to do that. If shops call for assistance, then we will obviously help out where we can.
“But we’re relying on shops to self-police in a way. They have to right to refuse entry to anybody and refuse to serve people.”
While Westquay said face masks will be compulsory from Friday, and strongly encourage customers to wear them throughout the centre.
Giles Semper, from Go Southampton, the Business Improvement District for the city centre, said he doesn’t think the measures will impact the amount of shoppers.
He said: “I think people will step up and do what they need to do to limit the disease, and I don’t think it will have an impact at all.
“In fact, I just know the people of Southampton are very responsible – this will just be another example.”
A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: “We are confident people will abide by the new rules, however we will expect retailers to take responsibility for the safety of staff and customers as well as communicating the requirements to customers.
“Compliance with the regulations to manage the spread of coronavirus has always been high in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and this must continue.
“This is a joint effort between the retail sector, customers, and the police. This is particularly important as demand on the police increases as the lockdown eases.
“As with other coronavirus regulations, we will follow an approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging, only using enforcement as a last resort.”