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Coronavirus: Police warn new enforcement powers will be used

Coronavirus: Police warn new enforcement powers will be used

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 5:35pm 27th March 2020. (Updated at 5:36pm 27th March 2020)

Police in Harrogate have warned new enforcement powers will be used if people are caught flouting the coronavirus lockdown rules this weekend.

  • Police are warning new enforcement powers will be used is people break coronavirus lockdown rules. 
  • They are stepping up their patrols at North Yorkshire beauty spots.
  • Officers have been given powers to tell people to go home, leave or disperse an area.

North Yorkshire Police are stepping up their patrols at the district’s beauty spots where they are calling on people not to travel to for exercise or any other non-essential reason.

This is after the Home Office announced on Thursday that members of the public who break the new laws will face arrest and fines.

Officers have been given powers to tell people to go home, leave or disperse an area – and those who refuse could be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.

Second-time offenders could then be issued a fixed penalty notice of £120, doubling on each further repeat offence.

Police officers

Those who do not pay the penalty can be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

Officers from Harrogate’s Neighbourhood Policing Team said they have already had to explain to a “large number” of people at reservoirs and other beauty spots that their actions were putting lives at risk.

The force’s chief inspector, Ed Haywood-Noble, said:

“Earlier this week, the Government announced significant changes to our way of life, instructing us to stay at home and only make essential journeys.

“We do not want to see people travelling to beauty spots in rural areas for exercise or any other reason. In particular, do not arrange to meet up with family or friends. Instead, take your exercise near your home, with members of your household.

“And whether you’re in a car or on a motorcycle, do not go out ‘just for a drive’ or a ride in the countryside. What if you break down, or have a crash? You are putting lives at risk.”