POLICE have been handed new powers to fine Brits up to £1000 for breaking rules for being outside their homes from TODAY.
Officers will aim to slow the spread of coronavirus by asking people to go indoors and will be authorised to use force if they refuse.
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The base rate for the fine is £60, which is then reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
Several of the same offences will see the charges soar, with Brits hit with a £960 fine for not doing their bit.
Those who keep disobeying can be arrested and locked up.
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.”
Cops will also be able to dish out fines and arrest you if you withhold personal information or why you are travelling.
It comes two days on from Health Secretary Matt Hancock warning Brits could face unlimited fines if they break rules against gathering in groups of more than two
It forms part of a four step plan to engage, ask, fine and then force people to comply and keep the nation safe.
Under the plans, if an officer sees someone out of their home and believes they are breaching the lockdown, they start a “four-step plan”.
The officer will first ask the person why they are out, and then explain why the ban is needed.
Then they will encourage the person to return home, and even give them tips on the best route.
If they still won’t go, officers can then issue a fine or use “reasonable force” to make someone go home.
The CPS also said they would prosecute people who coughed on or at emergency service staff during the crisis.
Doing so against emergency workers would be punishable by up to a year in prison, while coughs directed as a threat towards other key workers or members of the public could be charged as common assault.
Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “Emergency workers are more essential than ever as society comes together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am therefore appalled by reports of police officers and other frontline workers being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have Covid-19.
“Let me be very clear: this is a crime and needs to stop. The CPS stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties.”
It comes as police began have using checkpoints to stop vehicles and ask drivers if their journey is essential during the coronavirus lockdown.
Cops across the UK have been asking drivers today where they are going and why they are going there.
Road blocks have been set up today in Plymouth, Devon and in Cornwall, with 150 cars checked in Penzance, Hayle and St Ives.
Other areas have come up with their own approach to stopping crowds, with police in Manchester reportedly using sirens and a loud hailer while officers in Leicester have been using drones.
REASONS YOU CAN LEAVE THE HOUSE
– To obtain basic necessities, including food and medical supplies for those in the same household (including any pets) or for vulnerable persons
– To collect supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, the household of a vulnerable person, or to obtain money
– To exercise either alone or with other members of their household
– To seek medical assistance or attend medical appointment
– To provide care or emergency help to a vunerable person
– To donate blood
– To volunteer or do charity work
– To attend the funeral of family or someone you live with
– To go to court or satify bail conditions
– To access childcare
– To take kids to visit the other parent if separated
– To move house where reasonably necessary
– To go to a place of worship if a religious leader
– To access DWP services or victims of crime services
– To avoid injury or escape harm
YOU CAN ONLY MEET MORE THAN 2 PEOPLE IF
– You’re part of the same household
– Where its essential for work purposes
– When attending a funeral
– When moving house
– When providng care to a vulnerable person
– When providing emergency help
– When participaing in legal proceedings or legal obligations
The Government released in full a whole list of all the exceptions to the rules.
They confirmed you CAN go out of the house to get pet food, give blood, or volunteer for a local charity.
And they again stressed that Brits should not move house unless it’s strictly necessary. They should try and stay in their current home for now if they can.
Speaking ahead of the announcement, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone had backed the new powers.
He said: “Where there are instances of defiance or non compliance we’ve been intervening and giving pretty firm advice, but clearly at this state we do not have enforcement powers attached to them.
“As you might imagine I expect and would require our officers to speak to citizens and make it very very clear what the elections are and why they need to comply with those requirements.
“If they refuse, as I understand the legislation that’s going to be implemented we will have a power to instruct them to return home, to use reasonable force if required, and if there’s continued defiance at the absolute backstop a power of arrest.
“I would genuinely expect that to be used very frequently if at all.”
It comes after a study sparked fears that half of the UK population may have already contracted the virus.
University of Oxford research suggested the disease could have become prevalent in the country two months before the first case was diagnosed.
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