Kent Police to avoid ‘alienating’ local communities as officers tasked with enforcing coronavirus rules

Thanet Town Beat Officers Photo Kent Police Thanet

By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan

Kent police chiefs have said the county force should not “alienate” local communities.

Officers across Kent have been told to “engage” with members of the public by explaining new Government social distancing laws before encouraging them to go home or disperse.

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, said “enforcement” of coronavirus emergency powers will only be used as a last resort following discussions with the local chief constable, Alan Pughsley.

Mr Scott said: “‘The chief constable and I will continue to have regular meetings, but he has been keen to stress the importance of not alienating our communities, and I agree that is very important.”

It comes days after Derbyshire Police was criticised for being “overzealous” after officers used a drone to film ramblers and dog walkers in the Peak District.

But, Kent Police assistant chief constable Peter Ayling defended the UK force and said the scrutiny faced by officers was comparable to “Goldilocks policing”.

Earlier this week,it was revealed that officers in Kent have yet to issue any fine to people flouting social distancing rules, aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Officers have not yet deployed drones but have six at their disposal.

Kent’s police and crime commissioner told the Local Democracy Reporting service: “‘The important thing is how these new powers are exercised.

“I’ve been speaking with the chief constable about this, and his direction to his officers has been is that if they encounter anyone not following the guidance then they should engage with them, they should explain the situation to them, and encourage them to go home or disperse.

“The powers to enforce are only to be used as a last resort.”

Roadside checks continue to be carried out.

A Kent Police spokesman added: “We are patrolling locations across the county to ensure individuals and businesses are adhering to the Government’s instructions around social distancing.

“Those going against the instructions are being reminded of their personal responsibilities, with groups being dispersed.

“The latest direction from the Government means that those who refuse to disperse could face further action such as fines.

“Officers will be expected to use discretion when deciding how to resolve an incident, just like they do with other similar circumstances.”


  1. Officers are always encouraged to use discretion when dealing with most incidents. Only, with Covid-19 Coronavirus it cannot be seen and nobody can tell just by looking whether or not someone has contracted it for up to a week so discretion is not something that should always come into play. There is a matter of National Emergency and security of the public and those isolating at home doing what they are told by the government health advisors to stay safe and keep the NHS less busy. There should instead be more enforcement of people on the streets who shouldn’t be to keep others safe and themselves. I think The Chief Officer and Matthew Scott are not with it on this matter because using a lax attitude they are not going to succeed as without discipline people will just take advantage and think they are ok to carry on flouting the rules, which is what is happening here in Thanet at least, it is almost as busy as any normal day. They could also be using this slackness to excuse themselves on not having enough officers to patrol and enforce properly!

  2. Surely patrolling Northdown and Athelstan road Margate. Is not “alienating” the local communities, and asking people what they are doing. As passing though today whilst going to work. Nobody seems to have told the local residents that any sort of lock down is going on. Patrolling a empty High Street. Is a bit of a waste of time.

  3. This kind of soft rubbish is the problem we have faced for years with society at general.

    I’m sorry but this is serious if people dont obey the restrictions they need to be forced to with out question.

    If corona virus kills you alienation will be the least of your worries.

    Wake up for goodness sake and stay at home!

  4. just in the queue behind a brickie who told me he had just been to work
    the queue outside aldis reminds me of the doctors
    once inside the store people are not adhering to self distancing
    age uk workers out getting shopping for people

    I managed to get into Morrisons with no hassle whatsoever
    Had another telephone interview this morning
    have had a walk and moved away from people like I do when I go out
    people are going out to get vodka and coke is that really necessary?
    piling up on drinks
    still aldi’s had some toilet roll

  5. “Alienate the community” ? Why not if they are not doing as the law requires.
    This is not a game, it is not something anyone can opt out of, this is a choice between life and death for some.
    The law needs reinforcing where needed for the safety of all of us.
    A carrier does not go around with a neon sign showing ‘contagious ‘, we must presume anybody can be carrying the virus. I am keeping away from my son and granddaughters for the safety of all. I expect others to do the same until this passes.

  6. Kent Police alienated local residents when it stopped having any interest in crime.
    Drug dealing – no interest
    Car damage – no interest
    Petty crime – no interest
    Man threatened with knife – no interest

    Trumped up story of gender hate – 4 officers in 2 cars with man arrested and handcuffed.

    Corona virus has nothing to do with the public not trusting the police it is too many desk driving idiots. The picture had to be posed, when do you ever see 2 policemen patrolling the high street?

  7. Good point Haygordon, Mrs May didn’t believe in bobbies on the beat that’s why she got rid of over 20000 of them. Fear not all who voted Boris in, he’s going to replace them one by one, just like the coronavirus testing that still isn’t happening. Don’t forget this people, because you know where they will point the finger when there is some review and no doubt public enquiry if and when we get through this. YOU!!

Comments are closed.