Cummings “maybe” broke lockdown law, but no action after police probe

Number 10 chief aide Dominic Cummings “maybe” broke lockdown rules on his 50-mile journey to Barnard Castle, the police have said.

However, it was a “minor breach” and no further action will be taken.

Mr Cummings admits he made a 260-mile trip from London to Durham to his parents’ farm.

He said he was putting himself and his family into “self-isolation”.

He insisted the trip was both “lawful and reasonable”.

But the police have ruled a separate 50-mile round trip to nearby Barnard Castle was in breach of the lockdown regulations.

Mr Cummings, an essential member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s team, said he made the journey to “check his eyesight” after suffering the symptoms of Covid-19.

Since the story broke Mr Johnson has come under increasing pressure to sack his number one man.

He has steadfastly refused to do so.

Durham Police has concluded Mr Cummings did commit a “minor breach” of the guidelines when he drove to Barnard Castle on April 12.

However, it would not be taking any further action against.

A Downing Street statement said:

“The police have made clear they are taking no action against Mr Cummings and that going to Durham did not breach the regulations.

“The PM has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and legally given all the circumstances and he regards this issue as closed.’”

Here is the full statement from Durham Constabulary:

“On 27 March 2020, Dominic Cummings drove to Durham to self-isolate in a property owned by his father.

“Durham Constabulary does not consider that by locating himself at his father’s premises, Mr Cummings committed an offence contrary to regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. (We are concerned here with breaches of the Regulations, not the general Government guidance to “stay at home”.)

“On 12 April 2020, Mr Cummings drove approximately 26 miles from his father’s property to Barnard Castle with his wife and son.

“He stated on 25 May 2020 that the purpose of this drive was to test his resilience to drive to London the following day, including whether his eyesight was sufficiently recovered, his period of self-isolation having ended.

“Durham Constabulary have examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle (including ANPR, witness evidence and a review of Mr Cummings’ press conference on 25 May 2020) and have concluded that there might have been a minor breach of the Regulations that would have warranted police intervention.

“Durham Constabulary view this as minor because there was no apparent breach of social distancing.

“Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis.

“Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken. In line with Durham Constabulary’s general approach throughout the pandemic, there is no intention to take retrospective action in respect of the Barnard Castle incident since this would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public.

“Durham Constabulary has not taken retrospective action against any other person.

“By way of further context, Durham Constabulary has followed Government guidance on management of alleged breaches of the regulations with the emphasis on the NPCC and College of Policing 4Es: Engage, Explain and Encourage before Enforcement.

“Finally, commentary in the media has suggested that Mr Cummings was in Durham on 19 April 2020.

“Mr Cummings denies this and Durham Constabulary have seen insufficient evidence to support this allegation.

“Therefore Durham Constabulary will take no further action in this matter and has informed Mr Cummings of this decision.”

 

 

 

 


About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV's Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.



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