POLICE will be “quicker” to fine people for being outside of their home in breach of lockdown rules, Britain’s most senior officer warned.
Met Police leader Dame Cressida Dick said it was “preposterous” people didn’t know the rules and vowed to crack down on lockdown flouters.
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Dame Cressida Dick has said the police will move quickly to fine lockdown breakersCredit: PA:Press Association
It comes after Derbyshire Police apologised and scrapped £200 fines handed to two women who had driven five miles to go for a walk.
Banning exercise with people not in the same household bubble and making masks compulsory in busy outdoor areas are said to be under consideration.
Writing in The Times, Dame Cressida said: “It is preposterous to me that anyone could be unaware of our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus.
“We have been clear that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines.
“We will still be engaging, explaining and encouraging, but those who break the rules or refuse to comply where they should without good reason will find officers moving much more quickly to enforcement action.”
Britain’s top cop blasted Covid lockdown rule breakers who hold parties, meet in basements to gamble or attend unlicensed raves and slammed a “small minority” who “flagrantly ignore the rules”.
Dame Cressida also urged the Government to ensure police officers are prioritised for the Covid vaccine,
Last week, Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, both 27, were fined after driving a ten minutes to Foremark Reservoir in Derbyshire.
Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore were fined £200 each for driving five miles for a walk in Derbyshire Credit: EUGENE HENDERSON
Jessica Allen thought the police must have been joking at firstCredit: EUGENE HENDERSON
Eliza Moore said she was ‘stunned’ as cops ‘surrounded’ her and her friendCredit: EUGENE HENDERSON
Morrisons will stop people from entering shops without a face maskCredit: Rex Features
Police accused them of enjoying a picnic as they were drinking takeaway peppermint tea, but overturned the fines yesterday.
Meanwhile, police chiefs said they won’t fine shoppers for not wearing masks in supermarkets.
It’s thought face coverings could be made compulsory in busy public places such as supermarket queues, but some top cops have said they wouldn’t enforce it.
But one senior police leader told The Guardian: “We won’t be doing that.”
They added: “Do people really want the police telling you: ‘That’s not above your nose’?
“There are no extra officers. Everything else [crime] is still happening. Where is the greater risk: do you put two people in a supermarket not wearing masks before a woman suffering domestic violence?
We have been clear that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines
Dame Cressida Dick
“You need clearer, consistent messaging, not new rules and more enforcement.”
A chief constable added: “I don’t think we need additional powers, I need additional clarity about the exceptions, about how far people can travel.”
Another senior police source told The Guardian: “The government wants to see more enforcement but that will not regulate behaviour.
“There is no way the 40,000 officers you can deploy can enforce regulations on 65 million people if they do not want to follow.”
Sainsbury’s will order security guards to enforce mask laws as well as make sure people are not shopping in groups.
Morrisons will stop customers from going inside without a face covering unless they are medically exempt as part of tougher restrictions.
As part of the rules, customers who arrive at Morrisons stores without a face mask will be offered one free of charge by staff.
If they then refuse to wear one, they won’t be allowed to enter stores.
The women had driven to exercise in Foremark Reservoir Credit: EUGENE HENDERSON
Sainsbury’s will also order security guards to enforce mask lawsCredit: Reuters