Police officers checking motorists as public life curbs enforced to slow coronavirus spread

'Check point' in Birchington Photo Chris Kidman

Police officers are now stopping cars as part of the task to ensure people stay at home to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

New powers enacted by the government mean police may:

  • instruct people to go home, leave an area or disperse
  • ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking the rules
  • issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
  • issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence

Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.


If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.

Officers are dealing with those who may be out on unnecessary journeys.

Curbs on public life to try and control the spread of the virus:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family.

Following the introduction of the restrictions calls have been made to Kent Police to report people flouting the rules.


Concerns have been raised over the lack of social distancing, including Athelstan Road Tenants and Residents Association reporting numerous groups sitting tightly packed together on front steps of tenanted properties and many residents highlighting groups of youngsters still gathering across Thanet.

Action by police has included dispersals and today (March 29) includes a check point in operation on Canterbury Road, Birchington. Nearby residents say officers appear to be stopping cars to check occupants and destinations.

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Members of the public are advised not to call 999 or 101 to report people who are not following social distancing guidance. Kent Police officers are maintaining a visible policing presence throughout the county and providing advice to those they encounter who are not complying.”



  1. My office window (on the first floor) overlooks the public footpath. The message certainly has not sunk in. Parents with young children grouped together, couples walking and returning with no shopping. Children on bikes doing wheelies.

    • People can go out for a walk, a run,a bike ride. Shopping is not the only permitted outdoor activity.

      • From the uk gov web site:
        ” 1. When am I allowed to leave the house?

        You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:

        shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
        one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
        any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
        travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home”

  2. In a unconnected question, why do the police not wear Hi-vis clothing when they carry out duties like this. Surly if you are going to stand in the road, you want to be seen. Any other road worker would be sacked if they did not wear PPE. This is not the first time I have seen Police officers in non urgent duties like this dressed in black even in the dark.

  3. The officer doing the stopping in the image above is clearly wearing Hi-Viz jacket though.
    They need to do a similar exercise in Northdown Road Cliftonville as it has been busier today after a couple of quieter days but there is more traffic than should be. Shops are closed now and still busy. Many vehicles and motorcycles are ignoring the red traffic lights at the junction with Athelstan Rd also and just driving through as the drivers are too impatient to wait. They seem to think the rules are not for them as they are too important to obey them.

  4. Grass up your neighbour is the new national sport.

    English people love a bit of fascism.

    Its the Daily Mail capital of Europe.

  5. A number of Cliftonville groups, individuals & organisations, including ARTRA – Athelstan Road Tenants & Residents’ Association have printed out posters in English & several other languages to help explain why carrying on as normal simply isn’t an option. Despite 4 calls to 101 on members of the community failing to observe the lockdown &/or any degree of social distancing, and an apparent visit by PCSOs, no evidence of any change in behaviour has been seen, with only extreme whether conditions keeping people inside their homes. Although, the vast majority of adults, teenagers & children are respecting the government lockdown, a proportion of the community still act as if having the God given gift of immortality, posing a direct threat to themselves, their friends, families, neighbours & the wider community, plus potentially pose a massive threat to local NHS ICU capability. Without a more significant & proactive police presence to enforce the lockdown, all demographics showing contempt for public health & wellbeing will carry on flouting the lockdown & totally disregarding social distancing. A further attempt to communicate with the community in their mother tongue has been attempted by posting audio & video on social media – once weather patterns return to normal, any effect will be evident, or not. A greater police presence is imperative, if all community attempts to communicate continue to be ignored.

  6. What a surprise , the alternative universe that is Athelstan road once again rises to the fore, will there ever be the acceptance that there are sections of the community that are enduringly problematic and yet seemingly untouchable.

    Just wait for the whining when the traveller encampment in the lido carpark is deemed a success and a permanent site proposed and rubber stamped.

  7. I totally agree with the Athelstan road residents association many of the people you are trying to help doesn’t go by our laws it’s racism in central Margate they still congragarete around the whole of the high street the idiots are still riding their bikes going wheeties and riding the wrong side of the road as there is not so much traffic they are certainly not shopping or anything else.

  8. So Marva, have you seen the rise of the far right in Europe?
    Any thoughts on the intolerance of the hard left in this country?

  9. Don’t think the police in the top photo understand the concept of social distancing, or the two metre rule, given they’re closer than that…

    So, apparently we’re now all equal, only some are more equal than others – and the world is happy we now live in a police state….

    • “The world is happy that we now live in a police state”? We do not live in a police state. And I don’t suppose there are many other countries feeling anything much at all about the way that Britain is dealing with this pandemic. They’ve got enough on their plate.

  10. Maybe their attention would be better focused on having a word with the group of young men who are almost daily walking around Broadstairs seafront smoking weed. Not exactly difficult to find either. Just follow your nose.

  11. All these unhelpful comments in this post are disgusting and typical of the hard left. The police and the government are working hard to protect the welfare of the majority of Thanet residents who would want this to safeguard the health of there family’s and children would these lefty’s want thousand of people to die.

  12. “Hard left”. ” All these lefties”. How about the government? Slow off the mark, and now they want to bring back thousands of Britons from abroad. Will they be testing and quarantining them all? Before making unwarranted criticisms about “lefty’s”, look at the Tory government’s response to this crisis.

    • Modern politics is rife with endless shouts of “we’d have done it better” from whoever isn’t in charge, the extremes of both sides are usually the loudest voices and at the same time the most ineffectual . Far more would be achieved listening to the majority middle ground, but that wouldn’t go down well with the armchair agitators.

      “When all is said and done, nearly always more is said that done” said by someone somewhere.

  13. It seems that Marva reeves seems to like shouting her mouth off is it not time pipe up and stop using this post to score political points whoever the government is nobody has experienced this kind of epidemic before preparations for this type of emergency takes time.its common sense to not to try and have the NHS over run with patients and can’t cope.and people stay indoors and keep social distancing to stop the spread.Yhis is not a police state this is an emergency.

  14. I don’t know what Brian Smith Stewart is talking about. In my comments on this article I have written a total of 12 lines. Hardly “shouting my mouth off”. People should get their facts correct. Including people’s names.

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