Question (s) (Mark Pawsey):
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance her Department has issued to police forces in respect of mourners that breach COVID-19 social distancing regulations at funerals.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what (a) guidance and (b) support his Department has provided to funeral directors and death care sector workers to help ensure compliance with COVID-19 restrictions at funerals.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of issuing a protocol to be agreed between police forces and funeral and death care sector businesses to ensure a consistent approach to compliance with COVID-19 restrictions at funerals.
These questions were grouped together and a single answer was provided.
Answer (Kit Malthouse):
The Government’s guidance for those managing funerals is available through the Deceased Management Advisory Group website. This guidance details the actions funeral directors and others managing funerals should take to ensure funerals take place in a COVID-19 safe and secure way. This includes ensuring a COVID-19 risk assessment is in place and that all reasonable steps are taken to limit the risk of transmission, taking into account the risk assessment and relevant legislation including around attendance.
The Home Office does not provide guidance to police forces as they are operationally independent. Operational guidance is provided by the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
A funeral director should notify the police if they reasonably believe that despite their best efforts, the numbers attending are likely to breach the legal limits. The police can decide the most appropriate enforcement which may include issuing a fixed penalty notice.