Met Police Commissioner tells LBC: Enforcing lockdown rules will be "last resort"
30 March 2020, 10:34
The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has told LBC that enforcing the coronavirus lockdown rules will be the "last resort" for her force.
Cressida Dick said her approach is to “help educate and encourage” the public to comply with stay at home instructions from the government.
Her comments came after other forces were criticised for their over-zealous approach to the new rules.
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock was given a dressing down from South Wales Police for visiting his father, something they didn't consider to be "essential travel".
Hello @SKinnock we know celebrating your Dad’s birthday is a lovely thing to do, however this is not essential travel. We all have our part to play in this, we urge you to comply with @GOVUK restrictions, they are in place to keep us all safe. Thank you. ^cy— South Wales Police | #StayHomeSaveLives (@swpolice) March 29, 2020
Dame Cressida told LBC: “We are all getting used to the new restrictions and I’ve been very clear that in the first instance I want my officers to be engaging with people, talking to people, encouraging them to comply.
“Explaining, of course, if they don’t understand – already we have had examples of people who simply hadn’t quite heard all the messages – and, only as a very last resort with the current restrictions, using firm direction or even enforcement.
She said her officers have "gently" cleared gatherings of people when discovered and are not routinely stopping drivers.
"We're not doing what you might call road blocks or anything like that," she said. "Yes, we stop motorists sometimes, we have a conversation with them.
"They might have a light out, we might talk to them, we might ask them about their journey. Our approach is one entirely trying to help educate and encourage people.
"I think we're all trying to get used to this. My approach in my service is one entirely of trying to encourage people, to engage with people, to have conversations with people."