Reporting social distancing: Should you report people not following lockdown rules?

6 April 2020, 15:13 | Updated: 6 April 2020, 15:25

Police disperse a group of youngsters from a playground in Kent
Police tackle social distancing with a group of youngsters from a playground in Kent. Picture: PA

By Adrian Sherling

A minority of Brits have been ignoring the government's guidelines on social distancing and congregating in local parks. How do you report someone who is not social distancing? Or should you leave it?

Covid-19 saw lockdown rules in the UK put in place to help slow the spread of the virus with social distancing being a huge part of that.

However, a number of major parks in London were shut on Sunday after the councils said they could not enforce the social distancing regulations put into place because of coronavirus. So, should we report people not social distancing? And how would you do it?

Lambeth Council closed Brockwell Park after 3,000 people broke lockdown rules to attend it on Saturday as the sun came out. And in Brighton, police used a helmet full of water to put out a barbecue on the beach.

Here's what you need to about social distancing from the official government rules to how to report someone:

Should you report someone breaking social distancing rules?

Some people have been infuriated with people flouting the social distancing guidelines and reported those people to the authorities.

A number of police forces have specific pages for reporting people breaking the government's social distancing guidelines.

Greater Manchester Police launched their page, but added "We're seeking to resolve these situations without resorting to enforcement and issuing fines."

Whether you choose to report people with breaking guidelines is up to how dangerous you feel the situation is - are they causing a danger to themselves or other members of the public?

Why are social distancing guidelines in place?

Coronavirus can only jump from person to person, either by droplet from coughs or bodily fluids, or by touching objects on which the virus is on.

In order to "flatten the curve" of the number of people needing hospital treatment due to coronavirus, the government implemented the social distancing guidelines.

The aim is that if we can reduce the number of people who get Covid-19 to ensure that the NHS does not buckle under the increased pressure it is under.

So as the government says, please stay at home, save the NHS and save lives.

Police patrol Regent's Park in London during the lockdown
Police patrol Regent's Park in London during the lockdown to enforce social distancing rules. Picture: PA

What are the government's social distancing guidelines?

The government's website states there are only four reasons you should leave your house:
- shopping for basic necessities, such as food
- medical reasons
- exercise such as walking, running or cycling once per day
- travelling to work if you absolutely cannot work from home

When you do leave your house, you should remain at least two metres away from everyone else.

READ MORE: What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

What is the penalty for breaking the lockdown rules?

Police have been given powers to fine people for breaking the rules brought in by the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus - and can even arrest people for not complying with orders.

People who break the lockdown rules could receive a £60 fine - reduced to £30 if they are paid within two weeks. A second offence would cost £120, with the penalty doubling for additional breaches.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the Regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

"If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary."