People who continue to flout coronavirus lockdown rules will be breaking the law and can be arrested as part of new enforcement powers announced by the Home Office.
Officers can also tell them to go home, leave or disperse an area and ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking the law as the country attempts to get to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who refuse to comply could be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.
Second-time offenders could be issued a fixed penalty notice of £120, doubling on each further repeat offence.
Those who do not pay the penalty can be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.
Announcing the new enforcement powers, 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.”
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Earlier this week Chief Constable Gareth Morgan of Staffordshire Police said he felt many people would comply with the restrictions imposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday – but that police would not be afraid to enforce the restrictions if required.
He said: “If there is a requirement for us to deal with gatherings or people who are out and about when they shouldn’t be, the law has given us the sanctions to do so.
“We have powers to disperse, issue fixed penalty tickets and there will be arrest powers for people who don’t comply. We won’t shirk away from using them.
“There will be some people who think the rules don’t apply to them, but I believe the majority of people will go home if they are asked to. People may be asked to explain what they are doing and where they are going but it will be a dialogue with officers.”
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