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Police Are Warning It's "Increasingly Likely" People Will Get Covid Fines As Met Issue 300 Notices in 24hrs

The public have been urged to apply "common sense" when interpretting the rules (PA)

3 min read

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse has hinted that coronavirus restrictions could be toughened up to tackle the “small minority” who are flouting the rules.

His comments came as it was revealed that London's Metropolitan Police issued over 300 notices to those caught defying regulations in just 24 hours over the weekend. 

Writing in The Times, Dick said people should expect that it's "increasingly likely" people will be fined for breaking lockdown rules. 

Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick told the BBC’s Today programme she believed the notices would “have an impact” despite admitting that some may not ultimately lead to fines or penalties.

“[The notices] will encourage more people to recognise we're in a health crisis. We're in a terrible time for the next few weeks, we absolutely must do our best to reduce the spread of the virus,” she said.

Speaking earlier on BBC Breakfast, Mr Malthouse, said that the public “has a duty” to ensure this lockdown was that last one.

“We're urging people, that small minority of people, who aren’t taking it seriously to do so now. And illustrating to them that if they don't, they are much more likely to get fined by the police,” he said.

Asked if tougher restrictions were on the way, the minister said it “very much depends on the progress of the virus” and that he hoped the government “don’t have to go further” to try and flatten the curve.

Both Ms Dick and Mr Malthouse responded to claims that current guidance was unclear after it was reported the prime minister cycled seven miles from home at the weekend, while two women who travelled five miles to a park in South Derbyshire were issued a fine.

“[Local] is obviously a relative term, isn't it. But it means stay local, it's a kind of common sense approach. So if you drive 100 miles to go to a beauty spot that would not be in the spirit of the guidance,” the police commissioner said.

Ms Dick continued: “If you can go for your exercise from your front door and come back to your front door, that's my view of local.”

The policing minister also agreed that the public should use good judgement when interpreting the rules, adding: “We're asking people to be proportionate and use common sense here.” 

“And I know you know the idea of common sense is often getting ridiculed a bit. But, in truth, most people understand what we mean by staying local. Making it quick. Asking yourself on the threshold as you leave the house, do I really need to go out and am I really observing spirits with the rules? And I think the vast, vast majority are getting it right and will do so in the future.”

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