‘Like Communist East Germany’: UK minister chided for urging people to spy on neighbors for breaching Covid restrictions


15-09-20 08:42:00,

UK Policing Minister Kit Malthouse has provoked a wave of public indignation by suggesting people report their neighbors to police if they violate new Covid restrictions. The idea was likened to East German police practices.

The minister has encouraged people throughout the UK to report anyone not complying with a new regulation that came into force overnight which has quickly become known as the ‘rule of six’. It bans social gatherings of more than six people if they’re not from the same household, and violators can face fines of between £100 and £3,200. Someone who organizes a house party could be slapped with a £10,000 penalty.

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The new rules have already been met with an outcry by some Brits, and Malthouse seemingly only added fuel to the fire when he said people should “absolutely” report those breaching them to the police.

“There is obviously the non-emergency number that people can ring to report issues, if they wish to,” the minister told the BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ show. “If people are concerned, if they do think there’s a contravention, then that option is open to them.”

His words did not sit well with many people, though, who rushed to express their indignation online. “East Germany” quickly began trending on Twitter, with posters comparing the minister’s suggestion to the practices of Communist East Germany’s infamous security service, the Stasi, which relied on a vast network of informants and snoops to crack down on dissent.

Encouraging people to snoop on neighbours and report each other to the authorities is like communist East Germany. It’s un-British. https://t.co/a19qkmIByM

— Tom Tugendhat (@TomTugendhat) September 11, 2020

I really don’t like this idea of people being encouraged to report others to the authorities for suspected COVID misdemeanours.Is that really where we want to go?It opens the system up to so much abuse, and will turn people against each other. https://t.co/kScivCIIyo

— Professor Karol Sikora (@ProfKarolSikora) September 14, 2020

Some even warned about the potentially adverse effect such practices could have on the UK’s “national psychology.”

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.

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