Home Secretary to make announcement on lockdown law and policing

Home Secretary Priti Patel will lead an announcement on Downing Street on lockdown laws, violations and policing.

Priti Patel will hold a press conference on coronavirus at 5 p.m. this afternoon, reported The mirror.

It comes amid fears that people will not obey the rules and confusion about how the police can enforce them.

Police have announced that they will immediately impose £ 200 fines on anyone who breaks the rules – such as leaving the house without an adequate apology or refusing to wear a mask.

But there has been confusion over what exactly is a reasonable excuse – with questions about whether people can exercise a few miles from home, have coffee outside while exercising with a friend, or sitting on a bench.

There are fears that lockdown rules in England could be tightened – Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday this was a possibility if people don’t follow the rules and infection rates don’t go down.

Ministers have been forced to try to explain what “local” means in terms of the rules that tell people to stay near their homes if they need to go out, while supermarkets have started to enforce the rules more strictly .

Ms. Patel has defended the way the police have fined for breaches of the lockdown, stressing that “strong enforcement is required”.

The police have called for clarification of the “woolly” blocking rules for the distance that people should travel to play sports.

According to government guidelines, the public is currently only allowed to play sports in their area, but there are no statutory distances.

Brian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, told the PA news agency, “The guidance is that you should be in your own community near where you live, but people go way beyond that.

“Officers have no legal authority to handle this so it really is nonsense.

“Guidance is the moral judgment of the people, should they do it, but in terms of surveillance it is impossible.”

Confusion over the problem was underscored by cases including two women wrongly fined after driving five miles for a walk in Derbyshire, and the Prime Minister taking a bike ride seven miles from Downing Street.

When asked if the government should come up with a legal definition of ‘local’, Mr Booth said, ‘If you want a stricter approach to enforcing the lines, you have to do this.

“You can’t just do it as you did and expect the officers to work miracles. It just prepares the officer for a fall.

“When you tell people that you are going to curtail their civil liberties and ban them, state it very clearly. Because it’s not fair in public either.

“Don’t expect civil servants to work a miracle and pull the law out of your back pocket. We must have a solid legal basis to apply properly. If not, the public will distrust us.”

Leicestershire Police Federation chairman Adam Commons said officers from the 43 armed forces in England and Wales are trying to interpret something “incredibly vague”.

He told PA, “We can’t have 43 police force interpreting it differently. You are going to see a lot of people in the media saying, ‘Wait a minute, in Northamptonshire they do this, but in Manchester they do this “.

“We have some MEPs today who say, ‘It makes sense to us.’ For enforcement purposes, it doesn’t make sense to us.

“That’s the problem. We’re the people out there trying to deal with it, and we can’t in the current format.

“This just relieves the pressure on my colleagues, who then get criticism in the media to enforce it, and if they are wrong or interpreted differently it is used as a stick to beat them.”

“You’re just trying to interpret something that is incredibly vague and needs to be changed.”

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has stated that while the location of the exercise is a guide and not a law, officials are “curious” as to why members of the public are away from home.

A spokeswoman said, “Police officers will be curious about why people are not home and explain the rules and encourage people to comply.

“If people break the rules and are away from home without a proper apology, they may face a solid sentence.

“In situations where people are breaking the guidelines not to travel out of their area but not breaking regulations, officials will encourage people to follow the guidelines.”

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