Coronavirus: Priti Patel blasts police chief’s ‘inappropriate’ threat to check trolleys for ‘legitimate' shopping
Priti Patel said it was 'not appropriate' for police to talk about checking shopping trolleys (PA)
Priti Patel has criticised a police chief after he said his force could start checking people’s trolleys for “legitimate” shopping during the coronavirus lockdown.
In her first media appearance since the social distancing measures were introduced, the Home Secretary said Northamptonshire’s chief constable Nick Adderley's comments were “not appropriate”.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Mr Adderley said: "We will not, at this stage, be setting up road blocks. We will not, at this stage, start to marshal supermarkets and checking the items in baskets and trolleys to see whether it's a legitimate, necessary item.
"But again, be under no illusion, if people do not heed the warnings and the pleas I'm making today, we will start to do that.”
Asked about the remarks on Talk Radio, Ms Patel said: "Well that’s not appropriate, let me clear about that.
"That is not what the police are there to do.”
Earlier Downing Street also distanced itself from the comments, saying those shops which were still open "are free to sell any items they have in stock”.
Mr Adderley later clarified his words in a Facebook Q&A, saying he "may have been clumsy" in his use of language, before adding: "Northamptonshire Police will not set up road blocks.
“Officers and staff from Northamptonshire Police will not carry out basket or trolley searches attempting to ascertain the relevance of the items purchased.
"The confusion in the clip this morning, what I was trying to refer to, was we may get to a stage where the purpose of somebody's journey may be questioned by an officer - not searching trolleys and baskets.
"If that confusion has existed, please let me clarify, we are not in that business - I've said that from day one."