A former Supreme Court Justice, Lord Sumption has claimed that the excessive measures being used are at the risk of turning Britain into a police state. This is largely due to the inconsistency across the country with the use of the new police powers. Derbyshire police have used drones and dyed the Blue Lagoon black to deter people from swimming. One police force has issued summons to a household shopping for non-essential items, whilst another has told locals that exercise is limited to one hour a day.
The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) are now issuing new guidance to forces across the country to ensure they do not outreach their new enforcement powers. It will remind forces that despite politicians vague and conflicting information they cannot prohibit people from activities such as going for a drive. Driving to exercise may have been advised against, but it is not prohibited by the emergency powers and the law does not actually restrict people from exercising more than once a day.
Since the new powers Lancashire police have issued 123 enforcement notices whilst Bedfordshire police have issued none. The chairman of the NPCC, Martin Hewitt has said that greater consistency is needed with the use of the emergency powers.
The government and its politicians should aim to be more specific and give more clarity to the nation during its addresses to prevent further confusion.
By Samuel Killoran who is a Law Student at Solent University