Former Home Secretary Lord Blunkett criticises heavy-handed police

3 April 2020, 11:40 | Updated: 7 June 2023, 08:56

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett criticises heavy-handed police

By Adrian Sherling

Former Home Secretary Lord Blunkett told LBC that the police's enforcement of the coronavirus lockdown lacked proportionality and balance.

Derbyshire Police have come under fire for using a drone to catch people breaking social distancing guidelines, while a women in Newcastle had her conviction quashed for not telling police why she was out.

Lord Blunkett was known for being hard-line during his time in the Home Office, but even he said the felt the police's response to the lockdown lacked common sense.

Asked what has worried him about policing in the last two weeks, Lord Blunkett said: "Proportionality and balance.

"Ten days ago when the emergency powers were going through Parliament, I was raising the issues around this.

"Not that we shouldn't be really enforcing people's understanding of distancing, but that we do so with a degree of common sense.

Lord Blunkett was critical of Derbyshire police
Lord Blunkett was critical of Derbyshire police. Picture: PA / Derbyshire police

"In Sheffield they have been avoiding using the powers by persuasion rather than enforcement, but over the border in Derbyshire where I go walking - although I haven't in the last week - where they've gone over the top.

"The publicity and the pressure and the debate has made a difference. Over the last week, that balance has been partly restored.

"They've got bigger fish to fry, where people are blatantly getting together in numbers and that would be justification for intervention and I wouldn't be against that because every time someone meets someone who isn't their immediate family, they are in danger of multiple spread of the disease.

"All of us taking some responsibility for ourselves, some enforcement when it's really necessary, persuasion when it's not and then addressing some of these broader issues that we've been talking about over the last month."

Watch the interview at the top of the page.