Who would call police on people breaking the rule of six?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
September 17, 2020, 9:59 AM UTC

43% of Conservative voters in England and Scotland would call the police on strangers they see breaking the new COVID-19 rules

As COVID-19 cases rise once again, the Government has put in place new restrictions on socialising: now a maximum of six people from two households can meet at one time. Kit Malthouse, the Policing Minister, has even encouraged adults in England and Scotland to report those who break this new rule of six, with offenders looking at potential fines and criminal records. But how many Brits would be willing to call the police on rule breakers, and would they go as far as reporting their own family members?

Overall, one in fourteen English and Scottish adults (7%) say they would call the police if they knew immediate family members were gathering in groups larger than six, and 11% would do the same for wider family members. However, the majority of Brits (73% and 65% respectively) would not inform the police of family rule-breaking.

When it comes to friends, 12% of adults in England and Scotland would call the police if knew rule breaking was going on, and 17% would inform on their colleagues. These adults are less forgiving of neighbours and strangers however, with nearly a quarter (24%) willing to inform on their next-door neighbours, and three in ten (32%) willing to report strangers to the police.

Across the ages, older adults are universally more likely to be willing to report rule-breakers than their younger counterparts. For example, a plurality (the largest group that is not a majority, in this case 45%) of the over 65’s would call the police to report groups of strangers larger than six, compared to 16% of adults aged under 25 who would do the same.

When it comes to party lines, Conservative voters are the most likely to be willing to inform the police about rule-breakers in all of the scenarios YouGov asked about. One in thirteen (8%) of Tories willing to report immediate family members compared to 4% and 3% of Labour and Lib Dem voters respectively.

One in six (15%) Conservatives would report wider family members, and 16% would inform on their friends.

Just over a fifth of Conservatives would report colleagues, compared to 14% of Labour and 16% of Liberal Democrat voters.

The biggest difference between the parties comes down to strangers, where Conservatives are more likely to call the police than not. Two fifths (43%) of Tories wouldn’t hesitate to report rule of six breakers if they were strangers, were 39% would not. This is compared to 28% of Labour voters and 26% of Lib Dem voters who would also call the police in the same situation.

See full results here