Covid cops WILL move you on if you relax on park bench, Priti Patel says as police ask for power to force entry to homes

COPS will move you on if you relax on a park bench, Priti Patel has warned.

The Home Secretary backed police to take a tough stance on Brits flouting lockdown rules – as police asked for power to force entry into homes. 

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Ms Patel told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme more than 800 fines had already been issued in the past two weeks for “egregious” breaches of coronavirus rules.

Under current lockdown regulations, you can only leave the house with a reasonable excuse such as exercise, buying food, going to a medical appointment or escaping injury or harm. 

People can carry on going for walks in public parks with one person from another household – but the Home Secretary warned Brits not to relax on benches. 

Asked whether officers would question people sitting on park benches during the lockdown she said: “Police have done that, let's be very clear about this.

“Throughout this coronavirus pandemic, during the last lockdown, the police have been asking individuals why are they out and about and should they be out and about, when the message right now is stay at home.”

Cops have been instructed to issue fines more quickly to “anyone committing obvious, wilful and serious breaches”. 

Fixed penalty notices of £200 will be issued for a first offence, with this doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.


It comes as West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson urged the government to give police powers of entry to help “enforce the new regulations more easily”.

Mr Jamieson said: “For the small minority of people who refuse entry to police officers and obstruct their work, the power of entry would seem to be a useful tool.

“I have raised this issue with the policing minister previously and clarity on the power of entry would help police officers enforce the new regulations more easily.”

Before Christmas, Mr Jamie said cops would break up festive family gatherings if they were against the rules. He issued similar warnings over Hannukkah and Diwali celebrations.

Strict rules mean that anyone holding, or involve din holding, an illegal gathering of more than 30 people risk a police-issued fine of £10,000.

Scotland Yard also said Londoners would face fines “more quickly” for breaching lockdown rules, as the capital faces a surge in cases and hospitalisations.

In a statement this morning, the Metropolitan Police said: “In practice this will mean that all those attending parties, unlicensed music events or large illegal gatherings, can expect to be fined – not just the organisers of such events.

“Similarly, those not wearing masks where they should be and without good reason can expect to be fined – not reasoned with. 

“Additionally, with fewer 'reasonable excuses' for people to be away from their home in the regulations, Londoners can expect officers to be more inquisitive as to why they see them out and about.”

It comes after after the Met cracked down on anti-lockdown demonstrators yesterday in dramatic scenes in Westminster. 

Police detained 21 protesters at a rally in Parliament Square, as protesters without masks called for an end to coronavirus regulations. 

Despite strict rules banning large gatherings in the capital in place for the past six months, coronavirus deniers and conspiracy theorists have continued to hold rallies – but cops vowed to put a stop to protests. 

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: "For those planning on demonstrating, you are reminded of your obligation to adhere to the Government guidelines and stay at home.

"If people are found to be in breach of regulations, put in place to keep the public safe, then they can expect to see enforcement from officers.”


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