Home U.K. Police backed for stronger punishments on 'covidiots' but fears 'it's too late...

Police backed for stronger punishments on 'covidiots' but fears 'it's too late now' – poll

People throughout the UK are continuing to flaunt the lockdown rules laid out by Boris Johnson and his Government in March, with many packing to some of the country’s most popular areas. This disregard of official advice comes at a time when the COVID-19 continues to infect thousands of people, and has led to calls for the police to impose harsher punishments on offenders. These people have been branded ‘covidiots’, and they are sparking outrage among Britons who are becoming increasingly frustrated at an inability to begin returning to some form of normality.

Now Express.co.uk readers have lashed out at this rebellious group in a new poll, who have warned they will trigger a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic if they continue to flout the lockdown rules.

The poll, which ran from 9.45am until 8pm on Monday May 4, asked: “As ‘covidiots’ ignore rules, should police launch harsher crackdown?”.

From the 2,466 Express.co.uk readers who voted, 73 percent (1,783 readers) said police should be given the powers to enforce stronger punishments on offenders.

The remaining 27 percent (667 readers) disagreed, while less than one percent (16 readers) were undecided.

Great Big Lockdown Survey: Tell us what life’s like for you by answering THESE questions

UK lockdown: Police have been backed to enforce stronger punishments (Image: GETTY)

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UK lockdown: Police have been breaking up groups of people in parks (Image: EXPRESS)

One person said: “These people will no doubt create a second wave, yet the Government want all over 70s kept in lockdown.”

A second reader commented: “Sometimes, just sometimes, you have to do as you are told for your own good and that of others. Why some people get all affronted heaven only knows.

“I am the very last person to be obedient, but I see the logic and I obey.

“Some people are just acting like a two-year-old and mummy said they can’t have sweets.”

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UK lockdown: Express.co.uk readers backed police to launch a harsher crackdown on ‘covidiots’ (Image: EXPRESS)

But another person warned it could be far too late to take such as drastic step as the damage had already been done with the late enforcement of lockdown measures.

They said: “It’s rather late to crack down now. That should have happened when the lockdown began!

“The advice has been too woolly. People genuinely didn’t know what they could or couldn’t do.

“If there had been a month of real lockdown, one person allowed out to shop and everyone only allowed out for one hour a day but maintaining social distancing at all times, it would have worked better. After a month it could have been reviewed again and the going out time could have been extended slowly.

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UK lockdown: Police patrol a busy park over the weekend (Image: PA)

UK lockdown: Large queues formed outside a B&Q store (Image: PA)

“Instead there were people doing their best to isolate, living next door to people having friends and family around each day and even parties. There is a lot of resentment about it.

“If there had been heavy fines and prison sentences for repeat offenders it would have been much more likely to have been taken seriously. The police were left high and dry as they didn’t have proper guidelines either!

“I never thought I would say this but Italy and Spain had it right!”

A fellow Express.co.uk reader agreed, and said: “It should have happened eight weeks ago in conjunction with closing the airports. Now is far too late.”

UK lockdown: The country has been under a strict lockdown for six weeks (Image: EXPRESS)

The Government enforced lockdown measures on March 23 in a desperate bid to contain and eventually wipe out the spread of coronavirus, which has so far killed almost 30,000 people throughout the UK.

The guidelines state people must remain at home and only leave to buy essential items, seek help, exercise once a day alone or with household members or to travel to work – but only if absolutely necessary.

The British public have also been advised to follow social distancing rules and remain two metres apart from others if they do leave their homes.

People are also not allowed to meet people outside of their household or sunbathe or have picnics in popular public places, such as parks.

Police can currently issue on-the-spot fines of £60 to those caught breaking the lockdown rules, while repeat offenders face a doubling of the fine each time.

UK lockdown: Boris Johnson will announce how the government plans to ease measures (Image: DOWNING STREET)

Ministers are understood to be considering increasing fines for breaching the lockdown rules.

The possible toughening of the enforcement regime would see fines start at £100 and double for a repeat offence. Consequently, a second offence would mean a £200 fine, a third £400, a fourth £800, then £1,600 and finally a sixth offence would cost £3,200.

Anyone failing to pay the fine could face a prison sentence.

Mr Johnson and his government are under intense pressure to announce an exit strategy, a lack of which has left tens of millions of Britons increasingly frustrated.

He will announce the next steps to easing the lockdown this week, but the move will only be extremely gradual, with most measures continuing for several more weeks and months.everal more weeks and months.

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