Inform on Your Neighbours: NI Police Launch Lockdown Reporting Site

COOKSTOWN, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 18: Police officers wait by a police van outside the G
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Another British police force has launched a website for people to inform on their fellow citizens who, they believe, have broken the coronavirus lockdown measures.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) urged the public to report any instances of citizens allegedly not abiding by the social distancing rules introduced by the government, such as public gatherings of more than two people, travelling for non-essential reasons or continuing to operate businesses that have not been exempt from the lockdown rules.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said they had launched the website to free up the emergency phone line, which has been jammed with complaints from people attempting to inform on their fellow citizens. Since the lockdown was introduced on March 28 in Northern Ireland — part of the United Kingdom located in the northernmost area of the island of Ireland — some 906 complaints have been filed with the police.

“We want to resolve situations where the restrictions are being contravened without having to resort to enforcement powers or issuing fines,” Mr Todd said per the Evening Standard.

“However, where breaches do occur, we want to make it as easy as possible for members of the public to tell us while, at the same time, making sure that the 101 number remains available and accessible to those who need to report a crime or an incident,” he added.

“I am encouraging people to carefully consider the circumstances before making a report, but I can assure the public that all reports will be considered by our staff coordinating the operational policing response to Covid-19,” the assistant chief constable added.

The First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster said the police will be out in force to clamp down on those who break the social distancing rules over Easter weekend.

“This Easter, even though we can’t be together, we can all still do something special,” adding that: “We can help to save lives by staying at home, protecting the most vulnerable, protecting our frontline workers, and protecting our health service.”

Humberside Police in northern England has also established an online reporting portal for people to inform on alleged lockdown violations after police emergency lines were flooded with complaints.

In response to the pandemic, the British government is set to release an app that will track the movements of people infected with the coronavirus, raising concerns that government could use the lockdown as a means of social control and invade the privacy of citizens.

The government of the UK is also considering issuing so-called immunity passports to those who have recovered from the Chinese virus, allowing them to leave the lockdown and rejoin normal society.

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