Priti Patel has dismissed calls to deploy police officers into UK supermarket and instead urged shoppers to “be kind” during the coronavirus crisis.
Taking questions in the House of Commons, the Home Secretary stressed the importance of social distancing as the country continues to grapple with new measures against Covid-19.
The government has repeatedly urged Britons to shop responsibly after a surge of panic-buying of food and household essentials has left supermarket shelves empty and forced retailers to impose rationing rules.
Wycombe MP Steve Baker today said that a number of his constituents had asked for a police presence at supermarkets.
Responding, Ms Patel told MPs today that it was “not appropriate” for police officers to be stationed at retailers and agreed with Mr Baker “the main answer” was for the public to buy responsibly.
“Everyone should behave responsibly and make sure that we are being kind to people but also observing the right kind of social practices in supermarkets,” she said as she addressed an almost empty House of Commons.
Far fewer members were present in Parliament due to social distancing advice, and those who were in attendance were spread out along the benches.
WATCH: Priti Patel warns public against ignoring government advice
The Witham MP insisted that the public must also follow guidelines and remain at least two metres apart to help slow the spread of coronavirus, after many failed to do so over the weekend.
“It is not acceptable. The government could not have been clearer that in order to save lives and to protect the public during this public health emergency, it is right that we practise social distancing in the way in which the government has outlined,” Ms Patel said.
She continued: “The guidance that is coming from the government and from public health England is there to protect lives and to save lives.
“I would urge everyone, all members of the British public to follow that and absolutely no to use this period for any other practices.
“It is important that we observe social distancing and do everything that we can as individuals to be responsible in our own conduct.”
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