10/04/2020

Are UK Police Overstepping The Coronavirus Rules?

Are the police going too far in their actions to enforce the lockdown?

Even in the face of all the news stories about those overstepping the mark, mathematically the answer is no. The vast majority of the police will be working with the new rules very well. The shame is you only hear about the times when people have something to complain about.

People love complaining about the rules under which we are living. Conservative MP Jack Lopresti has said it's wrong that churches remain closed when off licences are open. To be fair, you don't spend as long in an off licence as you do a church, and while you can get wine and a wafer in both, the ones you get from the off licence are sealed and you don't share them with others.

We have to understand that the rules need to be policed but the police need to keep us onside.

Northamptonshire Police chief constable Nick Adderley had said his force was "only a few days away" from "marshalling supermarkets and checking the items in baskets and trolleys to see whether it's a legitimate, necessary item".

He's taken that back now, and I have some sympathy. I love having a look in people's baskets but only to judge then, not fine them. I very much enjoyed the panic buying days where you'd see people buying 3 litres of milk and 24 toilet rolls and you'd think, "If you're lactose intolerant just buy almond milk."

Why are some police thinking it's OK to check our shopping? Who's to say what is essential? We can all survive without vodka and biscuits but they're the main way many of us are getting through this lockdown.

The police should be careful about their image. If people start to think, "Ah, so now there are fewer speeding fines raising money they're fining people for leaving the house," the nation will start to resent the rules that are in place to save us.

We have also seen an increase in police stopping people to ask about their reasons to be out of the house. This may be the best part of it, because it has upset the kind of people who have spent years talking about the unfairness of stop and search saying, "If you're not doing anything wrong why would you mind being stopped," and now they don't like having to answer to the police. At least some good is coming out of this.

[Audio]: Here's some audio on coronavirus




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