Police bring in coronavirus road checkpoints to halt Brits flouting lockdown

26 March 2020, 11:58

Police at a coronavirus checkpoint
Police at a coronavirus checkpoint. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Police have started deploying road checkpoints in some parts of England, stopping vehicles to ask drivers if their journey is essential.

Officers from North Yorkshire police will ask motorists where they are going, why they are going there, and reminding them of the message to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives amid the coronavirus crisis.

On Monday, Boris Johnson put the nation into lockdown as part of a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.

He warned that police would issue fines to those found disobeying the new rules and several forces have been stopping members of the public.

Read more: Can I drive during the UK coronavirus lockdown?

Meanwhile, the Home Office released details on fines for people who breach the coronavirus lockdown.

Anyone breaking the rules can be handed a £60 fine - reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days. Fines rise to £120 for second-time offenders and double with each further offence.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the measures were brought forward "to protect the public and keep people safe".

Read more: How does the coronavirus home testing kit work and when can I buy one?

North Yorkshire's Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker said: "The new and significant restrictions announced by the Prime Minister on Monday evening spell out very clearly what each and every one of us must do to save lives. The message is clear and the warning stark. Stay at home, save lives.

"These are the lives of the people we know and love. Our partners, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, grandparents.

"You may never be in such a position again where your simple actions will lead directly to saving lives."

The force said the checkpoints will be unannounced and could appear anywhere any time.

Read more: Are the police stopping people who go outside during the Covid-19 lockdown?

Derbyshire Police has been using an unmanned drone to capture people venturing out to beauty spots in the Peak District.

The service said that travelling to remote areas "is not essential" and urged people to stay at home and save lives.

A video posted on its Twitter account listed the types of activity that had been spotted that was not considered essential, such as dog walking in the Peak District, going for a walk miles away from home, or going out of your way for an Instagram snap.

South Wales Police Swansea has also been patrolling the streets and the shores to ensure people are adhering to the social distancing measures.

One unit spotted a number of vehicles parked up at Rhosilli and Oxwich Bays while drivers were out surfing or walking.

Despite agreeing that surfing and walking were two good forms of daily exercise, the service warned that travelling long distances to do so was "putting communities and yourself at risk".

Around 500 extra British Transport Police have been deployed to train stations to check people are only making essential trips.

Police in Cornwall were among the first forces to stop vehicles to make sure drivers had valid reasons for leaving their homes.

Members of the public in Newquay spotted 'roadblocks' in place, less than 24 hours after the Prime Minister's announcement.