COVID Marshals: What are they and how to identify them

In October 2020, the Government gave £30m to local councils to fund measures to ensure that people and businesses are following the rules. One of these measures is the introduction of COVID Marshals to support members of the public and businesses to follow social distancing rules. 

How will COVID Marshals help? 

Although COVID Marshals cannot enforce the rules, it is hoped they will take some pressure off police and council officers, who do have such powers. 

Areas where marshals can help include: 

  • Helping businesses manage queues that extend outside of the premises 
  • Supporting social distancing in crowded public areas 
  • Reminding people to wear a face covering when necessary 
  • Assisting with regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces such as door handles 

 How to identify genuine COVID Marshals? 

Sadly, there have been reports of scammers imitating COVID Marshals to gain access to people’s homes. In September, Bedfordshire Police said it was investigating reports of two men pretending to be COVID marshals. 

The pair told the victim that they had been instructed by police to enter people’s homes and check guidelines were being followed – and warned he would be fined if he refused. 

In September, Bedfordshire Police investigated reports of two men who had attempted to enter someone’s home under the pretence of checking guidelines were being followed. The individuals also warned the householder they would be fined if they refused to let them in.  

It is important to know what powers marshals have and how to identify them. If you are in anyway uncomfortable with the behaviour of someone saying they are a COVID Marshal you must ask for identification. In any case, this identification would ordinarily be prominently displayed around the person, 

It would be expected for the identification to include a photograph, name of the organisation the Marshal is employed by, and how to contact that organisation if you have concerns. 

Genuine COVID Marshals cannot enter your home and they cannot enforce the law or issue fines. Official marshals are only in place to advise and support.  

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John Brennan


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