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Covid-19 police regulations

On Wednesday 13 May, the Government announced changes to the public health regulations that allows greater movement in public spaces during the coronavirus crisis.

Powers remain in place to support officers in enforcing measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

These powers will only be used if you fail to comply after our officers have engaged with you, explained the risks to public health and encouraged voluntary compliance.

What it means for you

You are not allowed to leave or be outside of your home without a reasonable excuse.

There has been an expansion to the reasonable excuses, and business openings, under the amendments to mean people can:

  • collect goods from a business permitted to remain open (click and collect) and visit recycling centres, garden centres and outdoor sport courts 
  • take part in activity associated with the sale or letting of residential property – including visiting estate agents and attending house viewings 
  • visit public open spaces alone for recreation to promote their physical, mental or emotional wellbeing 
  • visit public open spaces with ONE member of another household for the above purpose or, as previously, alone or with members of their household
  • take exercise with ONE member of another household or, as previously, alone or with members of their household

The following activities are not in the list of examples of reasonable excuses:

  • To go on holiday, this includes to visit and stay overnight at a  holiday home or second home.
  • To visit the homes of friends and family (exceptions include to protect a vulnerable person, for medical purposes or to escape risk of harm).
  • Travelling to outdoor spaces in Wales and Scotland for recreation (not exercise) may result in offences being committed in those jurisdictions, and so may not be a reasonable excuse for leaving home.

Policing will adopt a four-phase approach

Engage - we will initially encourage voluntary compliance.

Explain - we will stress the risks to public health and to the NHS. Educate people about the risks and the wider social factors.

Encourage - we will seek compliance and emphasise the benefits to the NHS by staying at home, how this can save lives and reduce the risk for more vulnerable people in society.

Enforce - we will direct you to return to the place where you live. This may include providing reasonable instruction of the route by which you are required to return. We may also remove you to the place where you live, using reasonable force where it is a necessary and proportionate means of ensuring compliance.

We will make sensible decisions, employ judgement and continue to use other powers.

Enforcement will be a last resort

Enforcement

The police and local authorities have the powers to enforce the requirements set out in law if people do not comply with them. The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures, but if you breach the law, the police may instruct you to go home, leave an area or disperse, and they may instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so. The police can also take you home or arrest you where they believe it is necessary.

If the police believe that you have broken the law – or if you refuse to follow their instructions enforcing the law – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice of £100 (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days), an increase of £40 from the previous £60 fixed penalty amount. If you have already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount for further offences will increase in line with the table below.

First offence £100
Second offence £200
Third offence £400
Fourth offence £800
Fifth offence £1600
Maximum penalty £3200

For both individuals and companies, if you do not pay your fine you could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

13 May 20 1:38 PM

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