Officers have launched an investigation into claims of social gatherings held during lockdown in No10 and on Whitehall while the public was bound by the coronavirus laws.
Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said: "As a result firstly of information provided by the Cabinet Office inquiry team and secondly my officers’ own assessment, I can confirm that the Met is now investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
“My officers have assessed several other events that appear to have taken place at Downing Street and Whitehall. On the available information, these other events are assessed as not reaching the threshold for criminal investigation.
“Throughout the pandemic the Met has sought, as I have said, to take a proportionate approach. I should stress the fact that the Met is investigating does not mean that fixed penalty notices will necessarily be issued in every instance and to every person involved.
“We will not be giving a running commentary on our current investigations, but I can assure you that we will give updates at significant points as we would normally do.”
It comes after weeks of damaging revelations that multiple parties were held during lockdown, including allegedly on the prime ministers’ birthday and on the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, at which the Queen sat alone out of respect for the rules.
Senior civil servant and ex-director of propriety, Sue Gray, has been tasked with investigating events of the last two years - understof to include the prime ministers’ alleged birthday party on June 19 - and has been widely expected to deliver her report this week.
Prime minister Boris Johnson, who apologised to MPs in the House of Commons, has faced calls to resign following the allegations.
Speaking at a meeting of the London Assembly’s policing and crime committee this morning (Tuesday, January 25), Dame Cressida told members she couldn’t give them a timescale of the investigation.
When asked whether officers would be looking at CCTV from Downing Street, she said the force would “go where the evidence takes them” and had been in constant dialogue with the Cabinet Office.
Dame Cressida said the force would “police without fear or favour”.
She said while officers would not “normally” be asked to investigate retrospective breaches of the Covid-19 regulations, they do investigate “serious and flagrant” breaches of the rules.
And she confirmed information from the Cabinet Office inquiry had been passed to the Met, giving them grounds for an investigation.
A force spokesperson said the Met had “written to the Cabinet Office this morning with a formal request for it to refer all relevant information gathered from its inquiry in relation to events on the dates in question to support the police investigations”.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said: “I welcome confirmation that the Met Police is investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of the law.
“The public rightly expect the police to uphold the law without fear or favour, no matter who that involves, and I have been clear that members of the public must be able to expect the highest standards from everyone, including the prime minister and those around him.
“No one is above the law. There cannot be one rule for the government and another for everyone else.”
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “The investigation being carried out by Sue Gray is continuing. There is ongoing contact with the Metropolitan Police Service.”