Police form ring of steel around traveller funeral and mourners’ street procession after fears of Covid breaches

MORE than 100 Hertfordshire police formed a ring of steel around a traveller funeral to ensure Covid restrictions weren’t breached.

Officers were out in force around St Helen’s Catholic Church in North Watford after they received reports that hundreds could try to attend the funeral.

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Police liaised with mourners in front of the church to ensure not covid laws were breached

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Police liaised with mourners in front of the church to ensure not covid laws were breached
The horse-drawn carriage of the deceased woman

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The horse-drawn carriage of the deceased woman
Mourners at the graveyard earlier today

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Mourners at the graveyard earlier today

Under the coronavirus laws, a maximum of 30 people are permitted to attend a funeral service.

From first light this morning, police began taking up positions around St Helen’s church with police vehicles parking in the surrounding streets.

The operation is thought to have cost tens of thousands of pounds and included dozens of police motorcycles and six riot vans, the Daily Mail reports.

There 30 mourners inside the church but a dozen attended and stayed outside police lines.

Onlookers estimated that the police in attendance outnumbered the mourners by three-to-one.

It is estimated to have cost the police tens of thousands of pounds today

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It is estimated to have cost the police tens of thousands of pounds today
Mourners making their way to the funeral wearing jackets with a picture of the deceased woman

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Mourners making their way to the funeral wearing jackets with a picture of the deceased woman

Hertfordshire Constabulary said it had been liaising with family members, funeral directors, church, local authority and other agencies ahead of the funeral.

The coffin was transferred to a glass carriage pulled by four horses with black that led 30 mourners into the cemetery at Dunstable.

One of the limousines had the word ‘MUMMY’ written in blue and white flowers.

Once more a large police presence was in the area to make sure only 30 mourners including close family were at the graveside.

“The deceased person has a large family and it is likely that well over the permitted 30-people will attempt to attend the funeral,” said Superintendent Nick Caveney.

“Whilst our sympathies are with the bereaved family at what is understandably a very difficult time, observing lockdown rules is absolutely paramount, to help stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

“I sympathise with anyone who is grieving the loss of a relative at this time and I understand that it is really difficult not being able to mourn in the way you normally would.

“However, we all have to remember that the rules are in place for a reason and the vast majority of people are doing the right thing.”

Earlier today Peter Taylor, the Mayor of Watford, said that police would ensure there would be “minimal impact on Watford residents”.

“Safety is our number one priority, which is why the police are taking precautions and will be increasing police presence in north Watford before, during and after the funeral,” he said.

“Although we sympathise with the bereaved, we have made it very clear that large gatherings will not be tolerated and we expect COVID-19 rules to be followed by everyone.”

Police vans at the Catholic church earlier today

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Police vans at the Catholic church earlier today
Onlookers estimated that there were roughly three police officers to one mourner

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Onlookers estimated that there were roughly three police officers to one mourner

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