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Herts and Beds funeral update

23 Feb 2021

There was a joint police operation in north Watford, in Hertfordshire, and in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, today (Tuesday 23 February) to ensure a funeral stayed COVID-safe.

Police had liaised with the funeral directors, church and cemetery to ensure that a maximum of 30 mourners attend the service – the legal limit under coronavirus laws.

“We did anticipate additional mourners arriving hoping to attend today’s funeral, as the deceased has a large family, but we were clear that we would not allow more than 30 people to attend and that was heeded,” said Superintendent Nick Caveney.

“Thanks to our work ahead of time, the service in Watford passed without incident. In Dunstable, officers directed a group of people to leave the area, using public health regulations, issuing a handful of fixed penalty notices.”

He added: “I understand that it is really difficult not being able to mourn in the way you normally would, but the rules are in place for us all for a good reason.”

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “The council has been working closely with the local police on this incident and we are extremely happy with the way they have handled things. Everyone should continue to follow the rules in place to keep Watford residents safe from the virus.”

Jon Levett, Chief Executive of the National Association of Funeral Directors, said: “Attending a funeral to show respect and say goodbye is rooted in our culture and so the COVID restrictions are very hard for bereaved people. However, it is important that funeral services do not help the spread of COVID-19 and so not attending a funeral service, unless invited to do so, remains critically important.

“The collaborative planning between Hertfordshire Constabulary, the funeral director and the two main funeral trade bodies – with the support of the family – has shown that funeral services like the one today can go ahead without causing a public health risk and this is a good model that can be utilised across the country. We urge funeral directors to continue to follow the principles set out in our guidance, which is in line with Government advice, to support families in arranging meaningful funerals within the restrictions - and plan for a larger gathering in their honour once restrictions are lifted.”

You should only leave home or travel for one of the permitted reasons set out in the ‘stay at home’ instruction (opens in a new window). Exercise should be local and limited to once a day locally.

If you believe someone may be breaching the COVID-19 regulations, you can report information online (opens in a new window), speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via our online web chat or call the non-emergency number 101.

You can ask your local council to investigate a business or organisation for not following the Government's COVID-19 regulations (opens in a new window) by reporting it to them online.


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