Police officers across Basingstoke "do not have the resources" to get involved when face masks are made compulsory.

This is according to the chair of Hampshire Police Federation Zoe Wakefield, who said the constabulary will struggle to police the change in policy.

From tomorrow, face masks will be made compulsory to wear inside shops and supermarkets and those not adhering to the rules will face £100 fines will be given to those who don't comply.

Zoe said: "I don’t believe there are any plans, we just don’t have the resources to do that. If shops call for assistance, then we will obviously help out where we can.

"But we’re relying on shops to self-police in a way. They have to right to refuse entry to anybody and refuse to serve people."

The chief executive of Basingstoke Together, whose purpose is to support the town's high street, said they were sure the public would respond well to the changes. 

Jane Stewart, of Basingstoke Together Business Improvement District, said: "I think people will respond positively to what the Government are asking us to do.  We all need to play our part in defeating this virus and if we are asked to wear a face mask whilst shopping to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 then I’m sure the people of Basingstoke will do just that. 

"We’ll be encouraging all our visitors to wear a face mask."

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: "We are confident people will abide by the new rules, however we will expect retailers to take responsibility for the safety of staff and customers as well as communicating the requirements to customers.

"Compliance with the regulations to manage the spread of coronavirus has always been high in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and this must continue.

"This is a joint effort between the retail sector, customers, and the police. This is particularly important as demand on the police increases as the lockdown eases.

"As with other coronavirus regulations, we will follow an approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging, only using enforcement as a last resort."