More fines to come as Home Secretary warns of stronger enforcements
Home Secretary, Priti Patel has warned that the rising numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths illustrated the need for “stronger enforcement”.
Ms Patel said police forces should focus their resources on people who are clearly breaking lockdown rules to “safeguard our country’s recovery from this deadly virus”.
Government sources have reportedly stated that this will entail more fines being issued, and quicker.
As UK coronavirus deaths surpassed 80,000 after a fourth consecutive daily increase of more than 1,000, the Home Secretary expressed:
“Enforcing these rules saves lives”.
“It is as simple as that”.
“Officers will continue to engage with the public across the country and will not hesitate to take action when necessary”.
It comes as studies shows that people are going out more during this lockdown than the first, suggesting people have become used to bending the rules over the past months.
Ms Patel’s intervention comes as part of a government effort to improve public compliance, with a new campaign urging people to act like they have the virus.
Doctors have also pleaded with people to comply with the restrictions in the face of mounting pressure on hospitals, warning that staff are at their limits.
Dr Zudin Puthucheary, council member of the Intensive Care Society and a critical care consultant, urged people to stay at home, admitting he was:
“Scared and angry”.
However, police enforcement measures during the first week of England’s latest lockdown have also come under scrutiny after two women were fined £200 each for travelling separately to a Derbyshire beauty spot for a walk, about five miles from their homes.
The pair were stopped by officers for walking five miles from their home with hot drinks, which they were told were not allowed, as they were “classed as a picnic”
Derbyshire Police has said it will review the fines, with local MP, Andrew Bridgen, saying:
“It is important that police forces implement the rues correctly, otherwise that makes a mockery of the rules themselves”.
Elsewhere, the Metropolitan Police said it had fined the owners of a London gym £1,000 for breaching lockdown rules by remaining open.
Norfolk Police said it had also issued a fine – to a man and a woman who drove more than 120 miles to look at a seal colony.