Covid marshals unlikely to be coming to a street near you: Councils refuse to adopt scheme without funding, analysis reveals

The majority of local councils said they had no plans to enact a Covid marshal scheme and would not consider it without extra funding

Covid marshals would be expected to advise the public on the 'rule of six'
Covid marshals would be expected to advise the public on the 'rule of six'

Boris Johnson’s armies of Covid-secure marshals are unlikely to make an appearance on a high street near you anytime soon after councils revealed they had no plans to enact such a scheme.

The Prime Minister announced last week that marshals would be introduced in towns and city centres to help enforce the new “rule of six” social distancing law, and could either be volunteers or members of council staff, but there was no offer of extra funding.

Mr Johnson said the marshals would “boost the local enforcement capacity” although it later emerged they would have no enforcement powers.

Local authorities reacted with indignation and a Telegraph analysis confirmed that the vast majority have no intention of even attempting to create such roles without a much-needed cash injection.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: "Based on what we know so far and given the situation in Wiltshire where our residents and businesses are on the whole abiding by the rules we don’t, at this point, anticipate engaging Covid-19 marshals.”

Both Manchester City and Trafford councils said they did not plan to have dedicated Covid marshals unless given the appropriate resources.

Crowds in Brighton, where groups were said to have kept in groups of six or fewer Credit: Brighton Pictures

Swindon agreed, stating that it was not involved in such a scheme as it had "not received guidance or information about the Covid marshal scheme" from the Government.

Others, including Stockton, Cheshire West and Chester, also suggested they had no plans to take part in such a scheme, while several said they were keeping participation under consideration and had not made any decisions.

The No.10 announcement was reported to have blindsided the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, which was left scrambling to answer questions, eventually stating that details would be set out “in due course.”

Only a handful of more than 130 local authorities contacted by the Telegraph, said they had anything like a Covid marshal scheme, but those had been in place for several weeks.

Kensington and Chelsea council said it had community safety wardens that were “in place before any mention of Covid marshals”.

Leicester City Council hired staff from private security firm Showsec in August to advise on Covid rules in public areas but a spokesman said: “It is difficult to make firm plans in the absence of detail from the government, not least in relation to funding.”

Wirral Council has tasked 20 council staff with helping to ensure businesses stay Covid-secure”, but stressed that "this is not a 'marshals' scheme".