Police enforcing the British government’s lockdown have been trying to ban convenience stores from selling Easter eggs because they are “non-essential goods” — despite it not being at all clear that there are any rules mandating what shopkeepers can and cannot sell.
According to the BBC:
Some shops have been told by police and local councils that the chocolate eggs are considered non-essential goods.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) blamed “overzealous enforcement and a misreading of the rules”.
It has told shopkeepers to carry on selling a full range of goods.
“There is no government definition of which products can be sold within those stores,” ACS chief executive James Lowman observed.
“In the cases where officers have challenged retailers and shoppers in this way, it’s brought confusion, distracted retailers in the busiest weeks of their lives and increased the interactions between people at a time when the government is trying to minimise them.”
Elsewhere, overzealous police have summonsed people for the alleged offence of “going to the shops for non-essential items”.
Overnight 6 people have been summonsed for offences relating to the new corona virus legislation to protect the public:
Out for a drive due to boredom
Returning from parties
Multiple people from the same household going to the shops for non-essential items pic.twitter.com/FstjlfdEkD
— Warrington Police (@PoliceWarr) March 29, 2020
They have also been trying to stop people taking walks on canal towpaths…
Although we can see the thinking, is it necessary for anyone who doesn’t need to walk on the canal to be there at this time? For those who live on the water they have no option. For those who don’t, is it essential? Could you walk somewhere else to ensure social distancing?
— Nantwich Police (@PoliceNantwich) March 29, 2020
And dying a blue lake in Derbyshire’s Peak District black to make it look less appealing to day-trippers:
I know this is *almost* too incompetent and Chief Wiggum-esque to be sinister, but does anyone else feel like the police are enjoying all of this a bit too much? https://t.co/UHRBPjJ5r0
— madz_grant (@Madz_Grant) March 28, 2020
According to the Sun:
[Police] wrote on Facebook: “Yesterday we received reports that people were congregating at the ‘Blue Lagoon’ in Harpur Hill, Buxton.
No doubt this is due to the picturesque location and the lovely weather (for once) in Buxton. However, the location is dangerous and this type of gathering is in contravention of the current instruction of the UK Government.
“With this in mind, we have attended the location this morning and used water dye to make the water look less appealing.”
Officers have also been grilling hospital care workers on their way back from late shifts:
WP stopped my wife on Sat night driving home alone from a stressful, traumatic 12-hour care shift – held her for 10-15 mins while they rang her workplace (said her uniform and care pin wasn't enough evidence). She missed saying g'night to our daughter. Unreconstructed fascism.
— Darrell Maclockdown (@maclockdown) March 30, 2020
And stopping people from “sitting in the park” (note the misspelling of ‘guidance’).
The #RaynesPark team were out and about today and had to speak to mutiple people about sitting in the park. The goverment guidence Is clear – you must only leave the house if it is absolutely necessary or once a day for exercise. #StayAtHomeAndStaySafe
— Raynes Park Police (@MPSRaynesPark) March 29, 2020
And soliciting “hate crime” reports.
Are you a victim or witness of hate crime related to the COVID-19 pandemic?
We do not tolerate hatred or abuse directed at communities because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
If you experience hate crime, please tell us & we will act. pic.twitter.com/7K8nrfWAA1
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) March 28, 2020
And reprimanding Stephen Kinnock MP, the son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, for stopping to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to his Dad.
Hello @SKinnock we know celebrating your Dad’s birthday is a lovely thing to do, however this is not essential travel. We all have our part to play in this, we urge you to comply with @GOVUK restrictions, they are in place to keep us all safe. Thank you. ^cy
— South Wales Police | #StayHomeSaveLives (@swpolice) March 29, 2020
Stephen Kinnock’s behaviour, though defended by some as reasonable defiance of excessive authoritarianism, does lay him open to charges of hypocrisy, however.
Here is what Kinnock — a Labour politician — tweeted last week:
This was Stephen Kinnock 4 days ago. This is why I am calling out his hypocrisy. He travelled 150 miles from S Wales to London for his dads birthday. Not essential. https://t.co/IKB9JBHV20
— Anne (@AWumman) March 29, 2020