THERE are not enough police officers in Basingstoke to be able to enforce the government's new rule of six law, a senior officer has said.

Zoe Wakefield, chair of the Hampshire Police Federation, said that the 'majority' of officers across the county are already working to capacity.

She had previously said that officers 'did not have the resources' to police the wearing of face coverings when they were first made mandatory in shops and supermarkets in July.

Speaking yesterday as the Prime Minister told the nation at a daily briefing that the new rules introduced around social distancing and large gatherings would be enforced to try and curb an increase in coronavirus cases, Zoe said that police enforcing these rules "are being taken away from their normal duties".

"The pile of work that they've got to do isn't being done by anybody else," she continued in a statement.

"Each time the legislation comes in, it falls on us to enforce it: the wearing of face masks, the unlawful gatherings and now the new rule of six.

"There aren't any extra police to allocate to these.

"We have a Covid car that's being allocated to respond to these types of incidents, but then the officers are being taken away from their normal duties.

"The majority of officers are already working at capacity. Fortunately in Hampshire the vast majority of the public are complying."

The rule of six, introduced by Boris Johnson in September, prevents groups larger than six people meeting in any place if they're not in the same household bubble.

It also does not apply in the workplace or at schools.

Zoe also revealed that Hampshire Constabulary had also recently issued their first enforcement notice after officers were called to a large house party.

But she warned: "We just don't have the people to go and police that, and it would be nice if some other agencies stepped up and helped us out a bit.

"You've got council enforcement officers who go and do the car parks and stuff like that.

"And I know there's been issues with some shops, with people not wearing face masks.

"Bigger shops probably need to start employing security guards if they're having problems, because we can't be deploying to all of them."