Met Police Federation casts doubt on officers’ ability to deal with lockdown after Boris Johnson said rule-breakers could be fined – meaning ARMY may need to enforce it
- The PM has put strict limits in place on when people are able to leave their house
- Mr Johnson said if people do not follow the rules then police can fine them
- Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the lockdown plans would be ‘very difficult’
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation has said Boris Johnson’s lockdown rules put officers in a ‘very difficult position’ and the Army could be drafted in to enforce the new measures.
This evening, the Prime Minister put strict limits on when people are able to leave the house, and also banned gatherings of more than two people.
In his address to the nation Mr Johnson said if people do not follow the new rules officers ‘will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings’.
Police will be able to fine people £30 if they ignore the rules and these on-the-spot fines will be ‘ramped up’ if there is widespread flouting, the government has said.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the lockdown plans would be ‘very difficult’ and he was already seeing ‘large amounts of sickness’ among officers across London.
Police gather at Newcastle’s Monument, moving on people who gather in a bid keep the population social distancing in order to stop the coronavirus spreading on Monday
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the lockdown plans would be ‘very difficult’ and he was already seeing ‘large amounts of sickness’ among officers across London
He told the BBC: ‘As you quite rightly point out, we haven’t seen one of the 24,000 officers that we lost across the country.
‘So it will be very, very challenging and very difficult for us with what’s put in front of us.
‘But we don’t actually know what is being put in front of us yet other than we’re going to be asked to disperse crowds, it’s going to be a real, real challenge.’
In his address to the nation Mr Johnson said you will be allowed to leave your home for the four very limited reasons:
- Shopping for basics, as infrequently as possible;
- Exercise, such as running, walking or cycling, once a day– alone or with those you live with;
- Travelling to or from work where it is impossible to work from home;
- To care for a vulnerable person or attend an urgent medical appointment.
Mr Marsh told Sky News that he believed the Army could be drafted should police numbers fall due to illness.
He said: ‘The Army are already in place on the outskirts of London and across the country. And I don’t doubt again for one minute that they will be called if needed.
Police parked at the gates to Greenwich Park on March 22, after people were urged not to visit their mother’s
Boris Johnson plunged the UK into coronavirus lockdown tonight – ordering the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods as well as playgrounds and churches
‘Because if we start losing large numbers in policing terms, through isolation and actually having Covid-19, then they are going to step in and support us in some way.
‘It could be tailored in quite quickly and I would save that everything is on the table.’
The Prime Minister intervened with the new restrictions after pictures emerged this week showing people taking advantage of the warm weather on parks and beaches and flouting government guidelines on social distancing.
Coronavirus UK: New lockdown measures in full
Boris Johnson tonight announced a lockdown plan to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the UK as he told the nation to stay at home.
People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following ‘very limited’ purposes:
Shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible.
One form of exercise a day.
Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary.
Meanwhile, the PM has announced a ban on:
Meeting with friends.
Meeting with family members you do not live with.
All weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies but excluding funerals.
All gatherings of more than two people in public.
The PM said the police will have the powers to enforce the lockdown measures through fines and dispersing gatherings.
To ensure people comply the government is also:
Closing all shops selling non-essential goods.
Closing all libraries, playground, outdoor gyms and places of worship.
Parks will remain open for exercise, but will be patrolled.
Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, added: ‘Measures to ensure social distancing have so far not had the necessary effect.
‘These new measures are sensible, based on scientific evidence and give people clarity on the exact steps they must take to stop the rapid transmission of this disease.
‘The majority of people are already making real sacrifices to save lives and we urge everyone to follow the advice that is designed to keep us all safe.
‘We are working with the government and other agencies to consider how these new rules can be most effectively enforced.’
On Monday evening the Prime Minister detailed a short list of reasons why individuals can leave their homes as he ordered the immediate closure of all shops selling non-essentials items on Monday evening.
He ordered people to only leave the house to shop for basic necessities ‘as infrequently as possible’ and to perform one form of exercise a day.
Or they could seek medical help, provide care to a vulnerable person or travel to work if ‘absolutely necessary’, he said in a televised address from within Downing Street.
‘That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home,’ he said.
‘You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No. You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.
‘If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.’
To ensure people follow the rules, Mr Johnson ordered the immediate closure of non-essential stores including those selling electronics and clothing.
All public gatherings of more than two people – other than those they live with – will be barred, the PM said.
Pedestrians walk across Clapham Common in south London, despite government advice to stay at home where possible
Other premises being shuttered are libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship.
And, while parks will remain open for exercise, all social events including weddings and baptisms will be stopped. Funerals, however, can continue.
Hotels and campsites will now join pubs, cafes and restaurants in being closed to slow the disease’s spread.
Mr Johnson said the measures will be ‘under constant review’ and will be considered for relaxation in three weeks’ time if the evidence allows.
He said that ‘no prime minister wants to enact measures like this’ as he reminded the public of the support programme to aid ailing businesses and struggling individuals.
But he said the drastic new measures allowing people to only leave home for the ‘very limited purposes’ were necessary to slow the spread of the disease.
‘To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well,’ he added.
Boris Johnson’s address to the nation in full on Monday evening
Good Evening. The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone.
All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer
And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.
And I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have.
Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.
And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.
To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from Coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.
So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease because that is the way we reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time, so we can protect the NHS’s ability to cope – and save more lives.
And that’s why we have been asking people to stay at home during this pandemic.
And though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.
From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.
Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.
That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently 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, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
And travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.
You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.
You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.
You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine — and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.
If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
To ensure compliance with the Government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately:
Close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.
We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with.
And we’ll stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.
Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.
No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this.
I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.
And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.
And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.
But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.
And yet it is also true that there is a clear way through.
Day by day we are strengthening our amazing NHS with 7500 former clinicians now coming back to the service.
With the time you buy – by simply staying at home – we are increasing our stocks of equipment.
We are accelerating our search for treatments.
We are pioneering work on a vaccine.
And we are buying millions of testing kits that will enable us to turn the tide on this invisible killer.
I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus.
Everyone from the supermarket staff to the transport workers to the carers to the nurses and doctors on the frontline.
But in this fight we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted. Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together.
To halt the spread of this disease. To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives.
And I know that as they have in the past so many times. The people of this country will rise to that challenge.
And we will come through it stronger than ever. We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together.
And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives. Thank you.
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