COVID marshals will not be patrolling the streets of Reading anytime soon, even though job adverts have been posted online.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he wants the marshals to help councils enforce social distancing rules in towns and city centres across the country.

But Reading Borough Council says it “is not considering introducing them in Reading at this time” as the government has not provided any funding or guidance for the scheme.

The Labour-run council says job adverts for Covid marshals in Reading have been “placed speculatively” by a security company that is “pre-empting a possible demand”.

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BMSL Group has posted adverts online for marshals who can work 47.5 hours a week in Reading, for £11.05 an hour.

A council spokesman said: “In light of the lack of guidance from government on the job role and enforcement powers of Covid marshals, or where we would find these people, and the fact that there is currently no government funding for local authorities to introduce them, the council is not considering introducing them in Reading at this time.

“We will of course keep that under review should circumstances or guidance from government change.

“It is important to note that the decision is taken in the knowledge that Reading Borough Council already has measures in place to help people keep safe in the town centre and to help with social distancing and new road layouts, which pre dates the government’s announcement on ‘Covid marshals’ by a number of months.

“Reading UK employ two Reading BID (Business Improvement District) wardens who have been doing a fantastic job in the town centre since lockdown was lifted in June, helping visitors with any changes.

“This is in addition to their usual duties, which include providing reassurance and advice to visitors and acting as extra ‘eyes and ears’ for police, who have the legislative powers to enforce the new ‘rule of six’.”

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He added: “Our local outbreak plan additionally sets out the council’s preventative approach by working with businesses, communities and targeting high risk settings to manage and minimise the risk.

“The council has a team of highly experienced environmental health officers who are working closely with businesses across the whole of Reading, not only in the town centre, to provide support and help in areas of high footfall.”

During the pandemic, more than 925 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Reading and 166 people have lost their lives to the virus.

The town has an overall infection rate of 572.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Last week, a group of leading Labour councillors in Reading described the national Test and Trace system as a “total shambles” which is “letting down the people of Reading”.

Councillor Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s lead councillor for health, added: “The government needs to get a grip immediately if we’re to keep Reading safe and avoid another lockdown.”