A Leicestershire MP has called for robust action to tackle Covid related crime after asking a Government minister if existing legislation was tough enough to tackle the criminals who are committing it.
Dr Luke Evans, the Member of Parliament for Bosworth, asked the Secretary of State for Justice “I’ve met with my local police and had many letters from constituents who are concerned about Covid related offences: breeches of lockdown, spitting, vaccine fraud and grant fraud. What assessment has my Right Honourable Friend made about the effectiveness of legislation in prosecuting Covid related offences?”
Replying the Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC, MP said “My Honourable Friend is quite right to highlight the particularly egregious nature of offences that are either based upon the threatened spread of Covid or the abuse of trust that frankly is inherent with anybody who purports to be a vaccinator and tries to profit out of it.
“…I think that we have provisions within the Fraud Act which can cover a lot of the representations, the false representations that are being made…
“…indeed we have other legislation, any spitting for example is an assault and should be treated as such and I note that a number of cases have been brought against the perpetrators of that appalling crime.”
Speaking after his question to the Minister Dr Evans commented “The Government is clear that they believe legislation is effective to tackle these reprehensible Covid related crimes of dishonesty and and violence.
“The NHS will never ask for your bank details when inviting you for your vaccine appointment. The rise in scams is a real concern and I urge everyone to be vigilant, if you are not sure, just check a trusted source like the NHS website or Action Fraud for help.
“The Police also need to know they have the powers to protect themselves and our community, so it is good to know prosecutions are taking place of those who are deliberately offending. We all need to play our part in dealing with the pandemic and get behind our Police. If you see a Covid related crime being committed, or if you are the victim of one, then report it straight away. The police need our support and it’s not unreasonable to expect these crimes to be dealt with strongly.”