Partygate probe intensifies as Met Police interviewing witnesses of alleged Covid breaches in Downing Street

The police added that no fixed penalty notices have been issued so far

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Metropolitan Police officers have started interviewing witnesses over alleged Covid-19 breaches in Downing Street during lockdown.

In a statement released on Monday, the police force said: "Detectives investigating allegations of breaches of Covid-19 regulations in Downing Street and Whitehall have begun to interview people, as witnesses, as part of their ongoing enquiries.

"In addition to the detailed review of all available material, including returned questionnaires, detectives from the Operation Hillman investigation team have started interviewing key witnesses.

The incidents were alleged to have taken place on Downing Street
The incidents were alleged to have taken place on Downing Street

"To date, over 100 questionnaires have been sent out asking the recipients about their participation in alleged gatherings.

"The questionnaires provide recipients with the opportunity to give an account of their involvement and the responses form part of the investigative material for the operation. Recipients are given seven days to respond.

"As a result of responses so far, further individuals have been identified and questionnaires sent to them. As the investigation continues, we may need to contact more people as further information comes to light.

"This investigation involves a significant amount of investigative material; the serving of over 100 questionnaires and the need to individually assess every response.

"The offences under consideration comprise a number of elements and the legislation itself changed between the event dates. We are progressing the investigation as quickly as possible

"As yet, we have not made any referrals to the ACRO Criminal Records Office for the issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices. However, every questionnaire response is being assessed alongside all available evidence, and should this reach the evidential threshold, then referrals will be made."