South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner welcomes lockdown and says force WILL use new powers

South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner has welcomed the government's decision to impose a lockdown on the UK and said the force will use new powers when necessary.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 3:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 3:53 pm

It comes as the biggest crackdown on the freedom of people living in the UK since the end of the Second World War was put in place on Monday.

Restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus include a ban on all but essential travel and only leaving the home to pick up medicine, go to a supermarket for food, go to essential work or exercise once a day.

New police powers allow officers to issue fines that start at £30 - and could go up to being unlimited - for anyone gathering in groups of more than two outside of their homes.

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Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings.

Dr Alan Billings said: "South Yorkshire Police are skilled at dealing with crises and adapting quickly as situations develop...their current approach, which I fully support, is to ensure that the public heed the government’s call to stay at home in order to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and to support the NHS.

“They will do this by persuasion, and only if people behave unreasonably and wilfully will enforcement be necessary. If this becomes the case I have no doubt they will have the full support of the public, not least those that work in the NHS and those with relatives who may be affected by the virus."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new restrictions will be in place for three weeks at which point the measures will be reviewed.