Scorching temperatures have been forecast for this weekend, reaching as high as 25C in some parts of the country. Politicians and the police fear the good weather will be an extra temptation for those struggling in lockdown to ignore social distancing rules.
Britons have been told they can only leave their home for a small number of reasons: to buy food, for medical reasons, to travel to and from work, or to carry out up to one hour of exercise a day.
Those who are found to be outside their homes without good reason can be fined by the police.
Officers can issue penalty notices starting at £60 and can be doubled for each repeat offence up to a cap of £960.
However, yesterday, Northamptonshire’s Chief Constable Nick Adderley suggested his officers could arrest anybody found to be repeatedly ignoring the coronavirus social distancing measures.
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Would you support arrests being made to those flouting the rules?
Politicians and the police fear the good weather will be an extra temptation for those struggling in lockdown to ignore social distancing rules
He said: “It’s that hardcore of individuals that if they refuse to obey the laws, yes they could be issued with that ticket.
“If they continue to refuse to move on or go home as being requested, there are other powers, which could mean that those individuals will be arrested.”
His comments sparked backlash with some questioning whether the police had the authority to arrest those breaking the quarantine laws.
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Those who are found to be outside their homes without good reason can be fined by the police
Former Cabinet Minister David Gauke, who was a solicitor before entering Parliament, described Mr Adderley’s comments as “worrying” and “authoritarian”.
In a tweet he said: “By and large, the police are doing a very good job in difficult circumstances. But there are a small minority whose behaviour has been wholly inappropriate.”
UK civil liberties group, Big Brother Watch, also criticised the Police Chief, describing his threats as something similar to a “police state”.
So, would YOU support police arresting those who break the coronavirus lockdown? Tell us what you think the poll below and in the comments section at the bottom of this story.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has also hit back Mr Adderley.
The Conservative Minister said last night the comments from the Northamptonshire chief were “not appropriate”.
She said: “What we should just say about this weekend is that the weather is going to be good – it is Easter.
“We really all do need to take responsibility. It is not about overreach, it’s absolutely not about overreach and it is wrong.”
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Speaking in Thursday’s daily coronavirus briefing, Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Boris Johnson while the Prime Minister recovers from COVID-19, urged Britons to continue to observe the lockdown over the Easter weekend.
Apologising for the strict measures, he told the country “we must keep going”.
The Foreign Secretary said: “With the Easter Bank Holiday coming up, I normally spend it with my two boys, their grandparents, doing an Easter egg hunt and I know there’s going to be lots of people who would normally be planning a family get together or just a day in the sunshine with friends and loved ones.
“Unfortunately, right now, we just can’t do those sorts of things. And I’m really sorry about that.”