The Prime Minister made a delayed address to the nation this evening in which he ordered Britons to stay home. All shops selling “non-essential goods” will be shut, as well as other premises including libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship.
Mr Johnson said: “The time has now come for us all to do more” as he mapped out the new plans in a desperate bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
He warned the public police will have the power to fine those not following the new rules, and officers will be able to disperse gatherings.
However, a police federation has warned that Policing these measures will be a “real challenge” for officers.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents officers in London, pleaded with the public to adhere to the measures.
The chairman warned the public that harsher measures could be introduced.
Mr Marsh said enforcement will be difficult amid “large amounts of sickness” among officers in the capital.
“So it will be very, very challenging and very, very difficult for us with what’s put in front of us,” he told Sky News.
“But we don’t actually know what is being put in front of us yet and we’re going to be asked to disperse crowds, it’s going to be a real, real challenge.
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“We will be dealing with it, but I’m not sure we will have the resources to be able to see it through.”
Hovever, he did say the Army could step in and support police if numbers fall due to illness or self-isolation.
Police will have powers to disperse gatherings after Mr Johnson announced a ban on meetings of more than two people aside from those who live together.
When asked if major crime is no longer a priority, Mr Marsh failed to rule this out.
He said that although officers will police the same way “up to a certain degree”, the coronavirus crisis had “taken over everything”.
“This is the biggest thing that’s ever happened in my lifetime and anyone’s lifetime, really, and we need to get on top of it,” he told Sky News.
“It’s not to say we won’t be policing, so people can’t behave in any way they want, because we will still be policing in exactly the same way, but you will see measures changing as this changes.”
Asked if he would like the measures go further, Mr Marsh said it could “absolutely become more draconian towards the public” if advice is ignored.
“Hopefully from this day, well, if they don’t listen then there will be tougher measures,” he said.
“I don’t doubt for one minute, because the only thing you are going to see is hundreds and hundreds of people dying.
“And we don’t want that, the police don’t want that, I’m sure the public don’t want that. It could be their loved ones. So we’ve got to work together.”
“As soon as we have further clarity on permitted movements, we will upload a specific page on our web site.”