Police chief: ‘We could be far more draconian if we wanted’

Friday, April 10, 2020

The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation has defended officers’ enforcement of the coronavirus legislation, saying “we are asking the public to come with us”.

Ken Marsh told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that he found it “quite bizarre that people want to be critical” when “all we’re trying to do is save lives”.

It comes after questions have been raised about the implementation of new powers given to the police amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Yesterday, Home Secretary Priti Patel criticised measures proposed by a Northamptonshire chief constable as “not appropriate”, after he suggested his force could start checking items in shoppers’ supermarket trolleys.

But Mr Marsh said today: “We’re not being forceful”.

“We could be far more draconian if we wanted to be, we could be far more forceful with the legislation that we’ve been given if we wanted to be - we’re not doing that.”

He added: “We are trying our absolute hardest to be quite complete in what we’re doing and have the public with us.

“We’re really trying to do it in a way that everyone understands that we just want you to stay at home.”

Brits are facing one of their toughest lockdown tests yet as the Easter weekend gets underway with high temperatures and blue skies.

The government repeatedly urged people to continue staying at home over the Bank Holiday in the run up to it this week and new images have shown there has been no mass Easter getaway this year as feared.

Location technology firm TomTom reported a dramatic fall in traffic levels on Thursday compared with the equivalent day in 2019, suggesting most people are following the instruction not to visit tourist hotspots this weekend.

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