Tell us how to enforce coronavirus lockdown, British police urge ministers
Police chiefs in Britain have demanded clarification today on how to enforce new quarantine rules to curb the spread of coronavirus amid confusion over their application and overcrowding on public transport; The Times reported Tuesday.
Boris Johnson said last night that police would enforce new rules compelling people to stay at home and leave only for essential shopping, daily exercise, medical care and “absolutely necessary” work. Officers will have powers to disperse gatherings after a ban on meetings of more than two people, apart from those who live together.
Concern has been raised about how officers will monitor rule-breaking, what action will be taken and how to impose the fines announced by the prime minister.
In other developments:
• Michael Gove was forced to correct himself by confirming that children of divorced parents could move between households. The cabinet minister also said that construction work should continue for the “economic health” of the nation while Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, said all building sites in Scotland would close.
• Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said it was impossible to run more trains on the crowded London Underground because of staff sickness. He issued a renewed plea for all non-essential travel to stop in the capital and led calls for more help for those in insecure employment being pressured to work.
• A YouGov poll conducted overnight for The Times found that 93 per cent of Britons supported Mr Johnson’s measures. Two per cent said they would not comply.
Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said this morning that police would have to use persuasion until new enforcement powers were made available under emergency legislation. “These are new rules. They are trying to be as clear as they can but it will take a while, I think, for everybody to get that understanding,” he told Today on Radio 4.
Sir Peter Fahy, former chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, told BBC Breakfast “there is a huge amount of clarification needed”.
Police chiefs warned of phone lines being inundated with calls after Mr Johnson’s statement, with questions about what movements are still permitted.