A senior member of the Metropolitan Police has told talkRADIO that his officers will use new powers to arrest people who flout the coronavirus lockdown rules if necessary.
New legislation introduced yesterday means that those who fail to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel will now be breaking the law and could be arrested by police.
Met Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh told Julia Hartley-Brewer that if people are not “sensible” in adhering to the new rules, then police “are going to have to take these measures”.
Lockdown rules mean that people are only allowed to leave their homes to shop for essential items, exercise once a day, give or receive care and travel to work when absolutely essential.
Mr Marsh said: “As I’ve said numerous times this week, we police by consent. We’re not a European forceful country that dictates to people what's going to happen.
“They have got to understand why we are doing this, for their own good, for their own health and for everyone else’s and if they won’t listen to that and understand what we’re doing then we are going to have to take measures and, be under no illusion, we will.”
Those who ignore tougher restrictions on movement could be hit with a £60 fine initially and another for £120 for a second offence, the Home Office warned.
They can order members of the public to go home, leave an area, have the power to disperse a group, using "reasonable force, if necessary".
Police can also take steps to make sure parents are stopping their children from breaking the rules.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the powers were designed to “protect the public and keep people safe”.
According to the guidance, the cost of initial fixed penalty notices will be cut to £30 if paid within 14 days and those who do not pay could be taken to court and risk facing costs for unlimited fines.
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