Police have officially been given the power to arrest people or fine them up to £960 for breaking the coronavirus lockdown rules across England.
It is unprecedented for the English police service to have this level of power over civilian life.
The Government said these measures are needed to “reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.”
This legislature is set to expire in six months.
For now, police have the power to instruct people ignoring the social distancing rules to go home, leave an area or disperse, as well as ensure that parents stop their children from breaking the rules.
The fines will be given incrementally.
Any adult who commits an offence under the new regulation will be fined £60, which will follow the usual structure of a lessened penalty (£30) if made within two weeks.
If anyone has been fined for breaking the lockdown before, the fine will be doubled ti £120. It then doubles for each subsequent fine to the maximum amount of £960.
“Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the Regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines,” a Home Office spokesperson said.
“If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.
“However, in the first instance the police will always apply their common sense and discretion.”
Several people have questioned the measures and how effective they will be on Twitter.
how does one pay a fine if one does not have a job and zero savings??— Christopher Salomone (@salbo6) March 24, 2020
Dumb idea— ??Grace Kelly???? (@realgrace_kelly) March 24, 2020
WTF is this ? now?! This is outrageous.— What the F? happened now?? (@WhattheFhappen2) March 24, 2020
£60 is not a deterrent to somebody who is stupid enough to be playing 5-a-side football with their mates despite lockdown.— Mr Celtic ???????? #CitizensRights (@Celticanz) March 26, 2020
£60 is a fare-dodging fine. Not a willfully spreading virus fine.
Other countries fine equivalent of £185+. Why is UK being so lax?
Gatherings of more than two people in public remain banned, unless it is two members of a family exercising or people carrying out authorised work.
It follows the announcement that 500 police officers will be deployed at railway stations across the country to ensure that only those making “essential journeys” were using the train service.
In a similar move to the one that has created 600,000 new volunteers for the NHS, the police service is now asking for volunteers to join their ranks.
Police recruitment centres have closed because of coronavirus – and now leaders are appealing for special ‘voluntary constables’ to leave their jobs; and for retired officers to return to the force.
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