COUNCILS use talking DRONES to spy on people

Now COUNCILS use talking DRONES to spy on people ‘ignoring coronavirus isolation advice’ – and order them back inside with loudspeakers

  • Neath Port Talbot Council has teamed up with South Wales Police to roll drones 
  • Being deployed to tourist hotspots and locations likely to see mass gatherings 
  • The drones will transmit a message via loudspeaker to members of the public
  • But people say they are being targeted and sent home while queuing outside  
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A council is using drones equipped with loudspeakers to catch people ignoring coronavirus isolation advice.

Neath Port Talbot Council has teamed up with South Wales Police to roll out the tactic across the local area. 

The gadgets are being deployed to tourist hotspots and locations in Wales that are likely to see mass gatherings.

But members of the public have hit back at the extraordinary move, claiming they are being targeted while queuing outside for hours waiting for groceries and medication. 

The drones are operating in high streets in Wales in a bid to disperse people 

Police will now ARREST anyone who flouts the travel ban

People who continue to flout coronavirus lockdown rules will be breaking the law and could be arrested by police.

Those who ignore tougher restrictions on movement could be hit with a £60 fine initially and another for £120 for a second offence, the Home Office warned.

Officers will have the power to enforce rules on staying at home and avoiding non-essential travel from Thursday.

They can order members of the public to go home, leave an area and have the power to disperse a group.

Police can also take steps to make sure parents are stopping their children from breaking the rules.

According to the guidance, the cost of initial fixed penalty notices will be cut to £30 if paid within 14 days and those who do not pay could be taken to court and risk facing costs for unlimited fines.

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

‘However, in the first instance, the police will always apply their common sense and discretion.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘The Prime Minister has been clear on what we need to do: stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives.

‘All our frontline services really are the best of us and are doing an incredible job to stop this terrible virus from spreading.

‘That’s why I’m giving the police these new enforcement powers, to protect the public and keep people safe.’

 

All but key workers have been told to stay at home by authorities in a bid to slow to the spread of the deadly coronavirus. 

The drones transmit the message: ‘This is a message from Neath Port Talbot Council. Please follow the government rules at this time. You must stay home.’

The council said the idea is to remind residents of the current instructions such as staying inside unless shopping, exercising or carrying out essential journeys.

While some praised the measures, others claimed they were unnecessary.

Writing on Facebook, Carly Murray said: ‘This upset a lot of people today at Neath boots. People were waiting for prescriptions and people were very orderly and staying two metres apart. This drone turned up and changed the mood.

‘As people were perplexed where it’s had come from and what they could do as they were waiting for Boots. People were annoyed to be told to go home when they were already stressed and fed up waiting hours for medications.’

A spokesman from Neath Port Talbot council said: ‘Drones are now being used to distribute public information messages across Neath Port Talbot during the coronavirus outbreak.

‘We have teamed up with South Wales Police to survey hotspots where people are not following government measures on social distancing.

‘The drones are equipped with speakers that will transmit messages directly to the public.

‘We are reminding residents to stay at home except for (reasons outlined by the Government).’ 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the three-week lockdown across the nation earlier this week.

In a nationwide address – watched by more than 27 million people – Mr Johnson told the public to stay at home during the pandemic to ease pressure on the NHS.

He said the lockdown was ‘vital to slow the spread of the disease’ and ‘save more lives.’

The population has been told to stay at home unless they need to leave the house for one of four reasons – shopping for basic necessities such as food and medicine, one form of exercise a day, any medical need, or travelling to and from work.  

Police patrols have been stopping train passengers for spotchecks in a bid to enforce the coronavirus lockdown.

Officers have been seen patrolling train stations in Swansea to check passengers should only be making ‘essential’ journeys.

Passengers at Swansea train station were asked for proof of their travel plans – and urged to take a single journey to their destination and home again.

Police are being given powers to issue £30 on-the-spot fines to those breaking the lockdown – and court appearances for non-payment.

South Wales Police declined to comment on the specifics of what officers were doing at Swansea station.

The force’s chief constable, Matt Jukes, has previously said: ‘South Wales Police has a track record of maintaining public order and safety in huge events and at times of emergency. We have always done so positively, with pride and professionalism.

‘So, we will continue to do what we do best – engage with people. We will ask them to support their communities and stick to these important restrictions.

‘As the public would expect, we will also enforce the existing law when this is necessary and new legal powers, as they come into effect.’

Bur lawyers have today warned that police are ‘unlawfully’ trying to restrict people travelling to isolated spots to exercise and walk their dogs. 

Police forces across the country are facing accusations of overzealousness as they use sweeping new powers to crack down on people flouting the coronavirus lockdown. 

Those who defy tough restrictions on movement could be hit with a £60 fine initially and £120 for a second offence reaching £1,000-plus for repeat offenders, the Home Office warned. 

But guidelines issued by the Cabinet Office do not prohibit driving somewhere for exercise or dog walking. 

Derbyshire Police is now embroiled in a furious row after tweeting ‘menacing’ drone footage chasing and ‘shaming’ ramblers and dog walkers in the Peak District.  

Critics say the unprecedented powers handed to officers by ministers will see the country ‘sliding into dystopia.’ 

As the row intensified today, Leading QC Matthew Ryder said there was an ‘overwhelming consensus from lawyers that police trying to restrict people to ‘emergency travel only’ is unlawful.’ 

Former MPs also claim police are ‘showing an astounding lack of judgement’ and needed to exercise ‘common sense and respect’ and use their powers elsewhere. 

Among those responding to Derbyshire Police’s drone footage was ex-Lord Chancellor, David Gauke. 

The former Work and Pensions Secretary and Justice Secretary said: ‘This is badly misjudged. People should maintain social distancing, which is what these people are doing. We need to maintain public support for fundamental behaviour change which requires the authorities to focus on genuinely bad behaviour.’

Derbyshire Police sent up their drone and filmed people on ‘not essential’ trips to the Peak District including people posing for an ‘Instagram snap’

As the row intensified today, Leading QC Matthew Ryder said there was an ‘overwhelming consensus from lawyers that police trying to restrict people to ‘emergency travel only’ is unlawful.’

Home Office reveals new powers to tackle people flouting the coronavirus lockdown 

  • Up to two years in prison if you cough deliberately on someone after spate of attacks on police and emergency service workers
  • People who continue to flout coronavirus lockdown rules will be breaking the law and can be arrested as part of new enforcement powers announced by the Home Office.
  • Officers can also tell them to go home, leave or disperse an area and ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking the law.
  • Those who refuse to comply could be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.
  • Second-time offenders could be issued a fixed penalty notice of £120, doubling on each further repeat offence.
  • Those who do not pay the penalty can be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose fines up to £1,000 or more; 

Derbyshire Police took the extraordinary step of using one of its drones to film dog walkers, ramblers and a group posing for Instagram pictures on a cliff top at sunset last night – highlighting their movements and accusing them of making an ‘unessential’ trip. 

Using the unmanned aircraft they also gathered number plates from parked cars and traced their owners to their homes in Sheffield saying: ‘Walking your dog in the Peak District: Not essential.’ 

Appearing on BBC Breakfast today, Superintendent Steve Pont from Derbyshire Police hit back at allegations he was ‘shaming’ dog walkers, claiming people were ‘looking for excuses and loopholes as to why they don’t need to stay at home when everyone else does.’ 

Supt Pont said his force was, ‘here to apply the law the government makes.’ 

Boris Johnson has stressed that unless you are a key worker or helping someone vulnerable, the only reasons to go outside are to go shopping for essentials, exercise once a day or fulfil any medical needs. 

Those flouting the rules face fines of up to £960, and police can now arrest anyone found outside without good reason. 

In addition, the Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday warned that anyone deliberately coughing at 999 workers to spread coronavirus faces up to two years in jail. 

People who continue to flout coronavirus lockdown rules will be breaking the law and could be arrested by police.

Those who ignore tougher restrictions on movement could be hit with a £60 fine initially and another for £120 for a second offence, the Home Office warned.

Officers will have the power to enforce rules on staying at home and avoiding non-essential travel from Thursday.

They can order members of the public to go home, leave an area and have the power to disperse a group.

Police can also take steps to make sure parents are stopping their children from breaking the rules.

According to the guidance, the cost of initial fixed penalty notices will be cut to £30 if paid within 14 days and those who do not pay could be taken to court and risk facing costs for unlimited fines.

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

‘However, in the first instance, the police will always apply their common sense and discretion.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘The Prime Minister has been clear on what we need to do: stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives.

‘All our frontline services really are the best of us and are doing an incredible job to stop this terrible virus from spreading.

‘That’s why I’m giving the police these new enforcement powers, to protect the public and keep people safe.’

 

But barrister Matthew Ryder argued: ‘Seems to be overwhelming consensus from lawyers that police trying to restrict people to ‘emergency travel only’ is unlawful.

‘They have no power to stop someone driving to an isolated scenic spot to exercise away from others (nor is there any logical reason why there should be).

‘If you live in a densely packed city like London, the local park now feels like a crowded gym much of the day: people exercising, walking dogs, letting kids run about. 

‘Stopping people going out to isolated spots for exercise in order to ease that crowding is counterproductive.’

Former West Midlands MEP Roger Helmer tweeted: ‘For heaven’s sake, Derbyshire police, get a sense of proportion. These people were taking exercise (permitted) and maintaining social separation (mandated). There are much more important matters which you should be pursuing.’ 

Supt Pont told the BBC: ‘We’ve received the legislation which is easy for people to understand. If people continue to flout this then we will resort to giving out fines.

‘We wanted to reinforce the message of, ‘stay home’ because a number of people aren’t staying home; they’re finding excuses and loopholes to go out. 

‘We wanted to illustrate that this is the wrong thing to do – last weekend the Peak District was overflowing with tourists.’

But presenter Charlie Stayt argued there was little chance of infecting other people if people travel in their own car to a remote location and walk away from other people, exercising their rights in a safe manner. 

He added: ‘It’s not really up to you to stop them.’ 

Supt Pont added: ‘If people drive in their cars and go walking along the clifftops, there’s a potential for accidents. Mountain rescue have said they don’t want people doing it. 

‘If the NHS are responding to a road traffic collisions, that is taking up their time.

‘The point is, government legislation says you should make your time away from home as short as possible. 

‘It is not as short as possible if you feel like going for a drive in the Peak District.’ 

He added: ‘We are hoping to appeal to the better judgement of these people. 

‘The NHS are heroes – they are asking, begging us, to stay at home. And 93-4 per cent of the public are doing that but some people are trying to find excuses not to.’ 

The apparent need for the new police powers to break up gatherings has been illustrated by reports of officers being called to friends having barbecues, house parties and games of football. 

Poll finds 11% of Britons are still going to crowded public spaces and 10% are visiting friends 

A survey for ITV’s Peston programme found millions of people are not complying with the government’s lockdown measures

A shock poll conducted for ITV’s Peston this week found 7 per cent of Britons are still going out to see friends, 8 per cent are doing ‘non-essential shopping’ and 5 percent have not started washing their hands more.

The survey also showed 6 per cent are continuing to hug others and shake hands, despite warnings this will spread the deadly virus which has already claimed 463 lives in Britain with 9,500 people now having tested positive.

Some 11 per cent of people are still going to public places while 33 per cent are stockpiling and ignoring pleas from supermarkets to save goods for the elderly, vulnerable and NHS workers.

A further 8 per cent (5.8 million) are continuing to shop for goods when not absolutely necessary and 7 per cent are meeting people outside of the immediate family they are living with, according to the JL Partners survey.

It also revealed that some 5 per cent of people – or 2.6million of the population – are still not washing their hands more than usual, or for longer than usual.

Some 34 per cent of people still going shopping and seeing friends claim they are doing it ‘safely’, while 14 per cent claim the risk of coronavirus is being ‘exaggerated’ and 7 per cent refuse to abandon their daily habits because the Government ‘hasn’t ruled it out’.

Those refusing to comply by the Government advice are generally young males while 15 per cent steadfastly say ‘we can’t let the virus defeat us’. 

Source: Read Full Article

You May Also Like