TELEMMGLPICT000230938167.jpeg Police leaders have been told by the Home Office they will only be expected to intervene in large gatherings after they warned that the new rules could make lockdown impossible to police.
Police chiefs said the relaxation of the regulations allowing unlimited exercise, the freedom to travel any distances to open spaces and socially-distanced meetings outside would be unenforceable in full.
It followed a bank holiday weekend of hot weather when daytrippers travelled to beauty spots, friends crowded into parks and socially-distanced street parties spilled into houses after briefings about the prospective relaxation of the rules.
The new regulations are due to come into force on Wednesday when the Home Office lay them in Parliament, but in urgent talks yesterday ministers and police chiefs agreed officers will adopt a lighter touch and concentrate on flagrant breaches.
A Home Office source said: “Police are not going to be spending time with tape measures looking at whether people are standing two metres apart. It is going to be people clearly failing the regulations. It’s about big gatherings, barbecues, where people are clearly flouting the rules.”
A police chief said: “There will be a lot of explaining, encouraging and engaging with people but there won’t be much enforcement unless we come across very obstructive or difficult individuals or larger gatherings.
“It would have to be a major breach. That reflects the fact that the fines have been increased to £100 and up to £3,200 for repeat offenders.”
Brian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “The regulations are unenforceable. The Prime Minister urged the public to show common sense but in my 25-years experience I have come to realise that there are some people out there who have no common sense.
“Some people will continue to deliberately flout the law and you have those who see it as their job to cause problems for the police and push the boundaries. My colleagues will not give up and walk away though they will continue to do their best, but the law as it is, is not workable.”
Story continues John Apter, the national chairman of the Police Federation, said: “What we need from the Prime Minister and the Government now is clear and unambiguous messaging and guidance, explaining what exactly is expected of the public, so that my colleagues can do their level best to police it.
“If the message of what is expected of the public is not clear, then it will make the job of policing this legislation almost impossible.”
The new guidance states people will be able to:
– Exercise outside as many times a day as they want – although a limit on the number of exercise sessions has never been enforced by law in England previously.
– Spend time outdoors, other than for exercise, as long as they are not meeting up with more than one person from outside their household while observing social distancing measure by keeping two metres (6ft) apart, and continuing to wash their hands regularly.
– Drive to outdoor open spaces “irrespective of distance” as long as they observe social distancing rules when there, and do not travel over borders to other parts of the UK where rules are different. Previously, the public were urged not to travel long distances to visit beaches, countryside and beauty spots.
One police and crime commissioner said: “This is a public health crisis and so it is not for the police to be constantly intervening. It is time for the public to police themselves and allow officers to get back to doing what they do best.”
LINK ORIGINAL: Yahoo