Former police chief explains in which situations officers should use powers to enforce lockdown rules

28 September 2020, 11:54

Former police chief explains when officers should enforce Covid rules

By Fiona Jones

Former police chief Jane Sawyers explains under which circumstances officers should use their new powers to legally enforce lockdown rules as tough new fines are introduced.

Tough new fines come into force today as the Government furthers its crackdown on people who repeatedly breach coronavirus rules.

From midnight on Monday, people across England have been legally required to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus or are contacted by the Test and Trace service - or face fines of up to £10,000.

People who have received a positive test must isolate for 10 days after displaying symptoms, or their test date if they do not have symptoms, while members of their household must isolate for 14 days.

Read more: Coronavirus: £10,000 fines come into force for those who fail to self-isolate

Ms Sawyers said that up until now the police have used a technique colloquially known as the "Three Es", engage, explain, encourage, which she supports wholeheartedly.

"There does reach a stage where the very worst offenders, those who are deliberately flouting the law, have to be dealt with," she said.

Ms Sawyers explained she would enforce the law if there was "such a serious breach the police had little choice" but a more likely occasion when the police "had warned, advised, encouraged and been taken no notice of."

She continued: "The men and women on the beat want to have a good relationship with the public and for the most part want to be able to do the right thing.

"There always reaches a time when you are policing the streets [encouraging] can't be done. Sometimes it's immediately that people have to be arrested for things, the law has to be enforced, but often it's after police officers...reach the point where they know they're not being listened to and just have to enforce the law."

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