LATEST NEWS: Enforcement still last resort for officers as police respond to Broadway concerns

POLICE officers and members of the public have raised serious concerns about a lack of social distancing and wearing of face coverings in Bradford shops.

A number of people have taken to social media website, Twitter, to complain about the “disheartening” scenes in the city centre.

PC Ben Pearson (1965), an officer with West Yorkshire Police who has appeared on Police Interceptors and Traffic Cops, first sparked the debate on Tuesday afternoon.

The post, since deleted, said: “I’ve just been into The Broadway, Bradford. Massively disheartening to see hardly anyone social distancing or wearing masks. It’s like no one was bothered. Just can’t get my head round it.”

The Broadway has since pointed out that the "vast majority of customers" who have visited the centre have respected the protocols  in place.
A statement from Ian Ward, General Manager at The Broadway outlined that while the shopping centre must “promote compliance with the law”, it is the responsibility of police officers to enforce this.

But a number of people were in agreement with PC Pearson.

Another officer, Special Section Officer Crossley (8608), responded to the initial tweet to express his own concerns.

He said: “This is why we’re in a second lockdown.

"People either don’t understand or don’t care.

"So disappointing.”

Several members of the public also shared their own experiences of the shopping centre.

One person said they were in The Broadway, Bradford with their partner at a similar time to PC Pearson and saw lots of people strolling round without masks on.

They said: "No wonder lockdown's just around the corner."

Others explained they'd seen a similar lack of respect for the rules over the past week or so and declared they won't be visiting again.

This included, not wearing masks in the shopping centre and the stores, not abiding by the one-way system, and not social distancing.

One person said: "Ben, I totally agree, the last time I went, I counted a total of six people wearing masks, I haven't been since.

"Businesses don't want to alienate people by enforcing the wearing of them, but don't they realise they are keeping so many people away because they don't?"

Another said: "We went the other day to change my daughter's school shoes.

"We won't be going again.

"No one following any of the rules (the one way, masks, distancing, etc.).

"I'll stick to online shopping and keeping me and mine safe."

One shopper added: "I went the other day and was shocked by the lack of masks being worn and how people weren't following the one-way system.

"Can safely say I will be avoiding it from now on."

Mr Ward said: “The Broadway will continue to adhere to government guidance to ensure that the health and safety of its staff and customers is maintained to the highest level possible.

"The current guidance states that face coverings are mandatory in retail settings such as The Broadway and that reasonable steps are to be made to promote compliance with the law.

"The police can then take measures if members of the public do not comply with this law without a valid exemption. 

“The Broadway team has worked hard over the past few weeks, alongside our retailers, to create a welcoming environment that is safe for customers.

"We’ve been really pleased and grateful that the vast majority of customers who have visited the Centre have respected the protocols  in place for their own, and other people’s safety. 

“As the guidance from the government states, the ownership is on the individual. We will, however, continue to monitor the situation and implement changes where necessary.” 

West Yorkshire Police has responded to people raising concerns by stating it will only enforce the rules as a last resort and has urged the public to "use their common sense" to protect themselves and others from coronavirus.

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