Parks and rec

London police hand out fines to cruising gays breaking COVID rules

Hampstead Heath. Via Shutterstock.

Police in London, United Kingdom have announced the arrest and fining of several men for outdoor sex in the popular cruising area known as Hampstead Heath. Law enforcement wants to be clear that the men are being targeted for breaching COVID-19 distancing measures, not for their sexuality.

“The police have made it clear to us that they do not proactively patrol the Heath, but only act in response to public complaints,” said activist Peter Tatchell of the Peter Tatchell Foundation. PinkNews reports that the police contacted and consulted with Tatchell as a means of diffusing tension between the police department and the LGBTQ community.

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“We are urging gay and bisexual men to ‘play safe:’ have fun but protect yourself and your partners by following the COVID lockdown rules,” Tatchell added. “We also advise against having sex in circumstances where you might be seen by members of the public and cause them offense. We are living through a major health emergency and it is imperative that our community does what it can to limit the spread of COVID and save lives.”

“We don’t want to see gay and bisexual men breaking the rules, putting themselves and others at risk and getting fined,” Tatchell added.

Police in the UK reserve the right to fine violators of COVID-19 distancing measures with a £200 fine. At present, the United Kingdom has reported more than 2 million cases of coronavirus infection. This Monday (December 21) alone saw more than 33,000 new cases reported. Health officials have also warned of a mutated strain of the virus which is said to be even more contagious.