Police expect a "large number" of mourners to attend a funeral in Watford tomorrow (Tuesday February 23).

Officers say they are aware of a service which will be taking place at a church in North Watford.

Hertfordshire Constabulary says the person who died has a large family and it is "likely" more than 30 people will attend the funeral, which would breach coronavirus laws.

Police say they have been liaising with the deceased's family, funeral directors, the church, Watford Borough Council, and other agencies.

Superintendent Nick Caveney said: "The deceased person has a large family and it is likely that well over the permitted 30-people will attempt to attend the funeral.

"Whilst our sympathies are with the bereaved family at what is understandably a very difficult time, observing lockdown rules is absolutely paramount, to help stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

"I sympathise with anyone who is grieving the loss of a relative at this time and I understand that it is really difficult not being able to mourn in the way you normally would. However, we all have to remember that the rules are in place for a reason and the vast majority of people are doing the right thing."

Police say residents in North Watford can expect to see a heightened police presence in the area from today, with letters sent to some residents over the weekend warning them about the upcoming funeral.

Supt Caveney said: "We anticipate some disruption in the local area, including possible traffic congestion. We recognise the likely impact on local residents and businesses and will work to minimise this wherever possible.

"We will not tolerate large gatherings in excess of the regulations and we are putting a proportionate policing response in place. All agencies are working to prevent breaches from occurring by engaging ahead of time with family members.

"The funeral directors will be working to keep the number of mourners inside the church to within the 30-person limit."

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The burial itself will be taking place in Bedfordshire, police said.

Supt Caveney added: "In policing the pandemic, Hertfordshire Constabulary is following the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) guidelines in applying the coronavirus regulations in our response to any breaches. Our officers are well-briefed on what this entails and are moving through the four Es of engagement, explaining, encouraging and finally to enforcing the coronavirus regulations if necessary.

"It is always our intention to seek prevention first and enforcement last."

Watford mayor Peter Taylor said: "Safety is our number one priority, which is why the police are taking precautions and will be increasing police presence in north Watford before, during and after the funeral.

"Although we sympathise with the bereaved, we have made it very clear that large gatherings will not be tolerated and we expect COVID-19 rules to be followed by everyone."