Police given new powers to respond to coronavirus

New public health regulations will seek to strengthen enforcement powers to reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.

If members of the public do not comply with ministerial and public health advice, the government has said that the police may: instruct them to go home, leave an area or disperse; ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules; issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days; and issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence.

Additionally, a package of support has been unveiled to boost police resources. Around 1,500 additional police officers have already joined forces across England and Wales since September 2019 as a result of the police recruitment campaign. The government is now leading by example and will ensure that existing Civil Servants who are already volunteering as Special Constables are able to assist in the national effort to the greatest extent possible.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The Prime Minister has been clear on what we need to do: stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives. All our frontline services really are the best of us and are doing an incredible job to stop this terrible virus from spreading. That’s why I’m giving the police these new enforcement powers, to protect the public and keep people safe.”