Police in London used truck-mounted loudspeakers to bark orders at sunbathing parkgoers, who took to the grass in apparent defiance of the nationwide lockdown measures.
A video published on social media by the police in Shepherd’s Bush, London, showed police trying to clear a local park of sunbathers, despite the government’s orders to remain inside, introduced to prevent the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.
“Can you all go home please, it’s not a holiday, it’s a lockdown, which means you don’t just come here and sunbathe,” the police are heard saying in the video.
“The Government has a lockdown in force, can you please get off the green. Go home,” they commanded.
Following the emergency measures announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to curb the spread of coronavirus, police in the UK have been granted new powers to enforce the lockdown, including the handing out fines of up to £30 for those breaking the rules. Refusing to pay the fine would be a criminal offence, Downing Street confirmed this week.
It was not revealed if any of the sunbathers received a fine for breaking the lockdown, with the powers to issue on the spot fines expected to come into effect Thursday.
“If we suspect anyone to be in breach of the restrictions we will speak to them, explain what the restrictions require them to do and ask them to comply in order to help prevent the spread of the virus and ultimately save lives,” a Metropolitan Police spokesman told MyLondon.
Officers approaching and giving clear advice to those who think sunbathing in groups whilst we have a national health emergency. We will continue to do our best for the public and the @NHSuk . Please don’t just sit in groups . #StayAtHomeSaveLives #CoronavirusLockdown pic.twitter.com/9Tw8kvA9lV
— Shepherds Bush Green (@MPSShepherdBush) March 24, 2020
London, the epicentre of the pandemic in the UK, has been struggling to enforce the lockdown, with many police officers off duty as a result of coronavirus.
On Tuesday, the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Ken Marsh, warned that if people continue to break the self-isolation rules then the army may need to be drafted to enforce the lockdown.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also suggested that police may start fining non-essential workers travelling on the city’s transport network, which has been crammed during peak hours despite the lockdown.
Some areas of the United Kingdom are preparing to deploy drones for surveillance of the public. The Times reports the remarks of Northamptonshire chief constable Nick Adderley said among comments on deploying police officers to supermarkets to maintain order, that drones could be used to “put out public information messages”, suggesting they may be equipped with loudspeakers.
Medical workers in London have begun reporting that they are being overwhelmed by the number of coronavirus cases. To make up for the lack of hospital beds, the government announced that it would construct a temporary hospital to increase capacity in the city.
“This Covid is really, really bad. We need help,” a senior nurse told The Telegraph.
“We’re already in an Italy situation, where the doctors are deciding who should be put on the ventilators and who should not. Most of the people who passed away have been elderly with various comorbidities [the presence of additional conditions], but we also have younger people struggling to breathe and they will sometimes get the ventilators first,” she warned.
British Army May Have to Enforce Lockdown, Says Met Police Federation Chairman https://t.co/Yht0Faq9Bf
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 24, 2020
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