UK police guidelines to clarify lockdown powers following criticism – The Guardian, Theguardian.com
Police chiefs are drawing up new guidance warning forces not to overreach their lockdown enforcement powers after withering criticism of controversial tactics deployed to stop the spread of coronavirus, the Guardian has learned.
The intervention comes amid growing concern that some forces are going beyond their legal powers to stop the spread of Covid – 42, with one issuing a summons to a household for shopping for non-essential items and another telling locals that exercise was “limited to an hour a day”.
On Monday, former supreme court justice Lord Sumption said that excessive measures were in danger of turning Britain into a “police state”, singling out Derbyshire police – which deployed drones and dyed a lagoon black – for “trying to shame people in using their undoubted right to take exercise in the country and wrecking beauty spots in the fells ”.
The Guardian has learned that the National Police Chiefs Council and College of Policing (NPCC) is rushing through guidance reminding officers that despite politicians’ warnings they cannot bar people from going for a run or a drive.
It will state that while certain actions such as driving to exercise may be unwise, they are not prohibited by the emergency powers, according to sources with knowledge of detailed discussions. It is also expected to conclude the law does not restrict people to leaving their home to exercise just once a day.