Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd warns officers will enforce new lockdown rules
Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has warned that officers will use their powers to enforce the current coronavirus lockdown.
On Monday evening, in a televised statement to the nation watched by 27 million people, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined strict new measures to try to stop the pandemic.
He warned people should only leave their homes to:
- shop for basic necessities such as food and medicine, and do so as infrequently as possible
- exercise once a day – including running, walking or cycling alone or with other members of your household
- address medical needs or provide care to, or help, a vulnerable person – this includes moving youngsters under 18 between their parents' homes and allowing key workers to take their children to school
- travel to and from work, but only where the role cannot be performed from home.
People are instructed to stay at home and, if outside, remain at least two metres (6.5ft) from people they do not live with.
The Government is also stopping weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies. Only funerals, attended by immediate family members, are permitted.
Police will be given powers to make sure people follow the measures – by dispersing groups and issuing fines. Downing Street says fines could initially be set at £30, but could rise significantly if people don't comply.
The National Police Chiefs' Council told the BBC that officers would be talking to people and explaining why they should not be out. If they do not accept the advice, they would then be given a fine. However, fines won't be issued until Parliament passes the emergency legislation – which should be by the end of Thursday.
Commissioner Lloyd said: “These are powers that nobody wanted to take on, but the situation is grave and they are necessary to ensure that people are kept safe and that as few people as possible die.
“It is vital that we all heed the Government advice and warnings and ensure that the police never have to use their new powers in Hertfordshire – our policing is with the consent of the people. I intend to ensure that remains the case and that we are doing what the public would want us to do.
“If the public do not comply with this lockdown the police will use their powers to enforce it and have my full support in that."
Mr Lloyd said that Herts Chief Constable Charlie Hall had assured him that the county constabulary was fully operational and well prepared.
“Our officers and staff are working flat out every day to keep us safe and it is our duty to support them and make their job easier by reducing unnecessary pressures on them," said the commissioner.
“I have always said policing is everybody’s business and that is also true of the threat we face today. It is only by working together as a community, acting responsibly and being ready to offer help where it is needed that we will overcome this crisis.”
Chief Constable Hall said: “This is a public health emergency and compliance with these measures are considered necessary to achieve the objective of effective social distancing.
“We have all heard the scientific advice which clearly states this will slow the spread of the virus and save people’s lives.
“The constabulary urges self-compliance within all Hertfordshire’s communities. Officers and staff will encourage all citizens to do so, remind those who we see in public who we believe may not be following them to do so, and only resort to enforcement action as a last resort.
“If we all work at this together we will slow the spread, save more lives and enable us to return to normality sooner.”
More by this authorSinead Corr