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Coronavirus: The fines that come into force today to try to keep people at home

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New regulations that have come into force today have been explained that strengthen the polices enforcement powers across the country.

The aim is to reduce the spread of coronavirus and to save lives.

To ensure people stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, from today, if members of the public do not comply the police may:

  • Instruct them to go home, leave an area or disperse
  • Ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules
  • Issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.
  • Issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence.


Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the Regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.

However, in the first instance the police will always apply their common sense and discretion.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

“The Prime Minister has been clear on what we need to do: stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives.

“All our frontline services really are the best of us and are doing an incredible job to stop this terrible virus from spreading.

“That’s why I’m giving the police these new enforcement powers, to protect the public and keep people safe.”

In addition to the new powers, a package of support has been unveiled to boost police resources.

Around 1,500 additional police officers have already joined forces across England and Wales since September 2019 as a result of the police recruitment campaign.

The Government is also ensuring that existing Civil Servants who are already volunteering as Special Constables are able to assist in the national effort to the greatest extent possible.

Additionally tax and pensions rules are to be relaxed which could deter officers nearing retirement and those recently retired from returning to serve.

The Government is also speaking to the Security Industry Authority about what more they can do to encourage the private security sector to support the national response.

The Home Office has been working with police and fire services to understand their requirements for Personal Protective Equipment over the coming months. The National Police Chiefs’ Council has confirmed that police currently have a good supply and they are overseeing distribution to forces but the Government will continue to work with them to ensure that emergency service workers can get the equipment they need, when they need it, in order to carry out their jobs safely.

Individuals will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible;
  • One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of their household;
  • Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where they cannot work from home.

Participating in gatherings of more than two people in public spaces is also not permitted except in very limited circumstances, for example, where it is for essential work purposes. Full guidance can be found here.

Coronavirus

West Sussex refuses to support Crawley schools decision of NOT fining parents for keeping children absent

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September seems to creeping ever closer and with it comes the supposed return to school for children across the town.

But with the news that parents ‘must’ send their children back to school come the start of the new school year, also came the news that one head in paticular had gone on record to say he would not fine any parent who kept their child at home.

Head of St Wilfrid’s Michael Ferry was interviewed on breakfast television where he stated that he would not fine a parent. This then led to a whole debate about who was right and what the right decision should be.

Now West Sussex County Council has added to this furore by refusing to support a decision to not fine a parent made by any head teacher or school in Crawley.

In a statement a West Sussex County Council Spokesperson said:

“We welcome the plan for all children to return to the classroom in September after, what has been for many, a lengthy absence.

“We recognise that some children may be anxious about returning to school and will work closely with our schools to help them prepare children and build the confidence of parents  and carers in the plans for a safe and managed return.

“We will continue to work with schools to engage with and support parents and carers in getting their children back into school before considering issuing penalties for poor attendance. Issuing fines for non-attendance is always a last resort.”

The lack of apparent support from the county council shows an ever growing divide on decisions being made around the ongoing problems with the coronavirus.

Responding to the comments from West Sussex, Michael Ferry said:

“The guidance allows head teachers as far as they can to make local decisions to meet the needs of their school communities.  If one of those decisions happens to be that we are not going to fine people for something that isn’t their fault then I would expect the local authority to support the headteachers in doing so.

If only 10% turn up when we reopen then I would say I have failed because I have not got across the message about what measures we are taking to protect our students.”

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