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.
We have been patrolling all parts of Thanet during the night. As British Summer Time begins we have come down to Margate seafront to make sure everyone is at home. Hopefully in time this place will be buzzing with life again soon @DreamlandMarg #margate pic.twitter.com/rEvjcwK0VW
— Kent Police Thanet (@kentpolicethan) March 29, 2020
If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.
— Kent Police Thanet (@KentPoliceThan) March 29, 2020
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.
— Kent Police Thanet (@kentpolicethan) March 28, 2020
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.”