News Coronavirus Five charged: NSW Police step up COVID enforcement

Five charged: NSW Police step up COVID enforcement

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Five men have been charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest during a COVID compliance check in Sydney’s west.

The incident comes as the force launches a citywide crackdown on lockdown restrictions, with a contingent of 300 Australian Defence Force personnel joining them as they enforce rules in eight western and southwestern Sydney council areas.

The men were arrested after officers attended a home in Oakhurst, following reports of a party on Saturday afternoon.

A group of males were found drinking inside a garage and were asked to produce identification but allegedly refused.

When told they were in possible breach of COVID restrictions a 44-year-old man pushed an officer in the chest and four others aged in their 30s became violent and attempted to hinder his arrest, police said.

OC spray was used to subdue the men, who have been charged with a range of offences including non-compliance, resisting arrest and assaulting police.

The group will appear in Mt Druitt Local Court later this month.

‘Zero-tolerance approach’

Meanwhile, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says officers will target Sydney supermarkets and larger retail outlets in a major crackdown focusing on check-in codes and face masks.

He says there’s no reasonable excuse for members of the public not adhering to current health orders.

“Recent heath advice has shown that supermarkets and large retail stores are a known source of concern when it comes to spreading COVID-19,” the commissioner said in a statement issued on Saturday evening.

A threatened anti-lockdown protest in central Sydney failed to materialise on Saturday as 1300 police officers flooded the precinct, enforcing an exclusion zone.

Taxi and rideshare companies were banned from entering the city under the threat of heavy fines.

Eight people were arrested and more than 250 penalty notices were issued, although no protest activity came to light anywhere resembling last weekend’s scenes of thousands demonstrating in the city centre.

Mr Fuller said under the new compliance regime his troops would take a “zero-tolerance approach to members of the public and businesses breaching these orders”.

Businesses failing to comply with the QR checking system will be fined $5000, while people who don’t check in or wear a face mask will be fined up to $1000.

NSW recorded 210 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Saturday. At least 32 of them were infectious while in the community, while the isolation status of 120 more is still under investigation.