UK Police State Shaming: Force Scolds, Fines Man £200 for Cup of Tea with Friend

A pedestrian wearing a mask because of the coronavirus pandemic walks past a poster complaining about the second lockdown in Manchester, northwest England on November 10, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

A British police force took to social media to shame a man for visiting his friend’s house for a cup of tea and fined him £200 for breaching lockdown.

England’s second lockdown prohibits the mixing of households. With five senior police officers vowing last week that those who break the rules would “face the consequences of greater levels of enforcement”, Greater Manchester Police held one Wigan man up as an example to others.

Posting on Facebook, the force said: “As a follow on from yesterday’s post reminding you we are currently in Lockdown 2.0 as they say and under government restrictions, a fixed penalty was issued to a male last night who decided he was going to see his mate and have a brew with him.”

“To make matters worse he tried to lie about why he was there. You cannot go to another person’s address unless for certain exemptions ie childcare, support bubble etc,” the force added, according to The Guardian.

Such displays of police forces publicly shaming Britons trying to live their lives as normal as possible in a free country were also seen under the first lockdown in March.

Derbyshire Police had stalked dog walkers with drones in beauty spots, later uploading the footage to social media to shame those taking exercise in an allegedly unnecessary manner. While Warrington Police shared that it had fined a group of people who lived together for going for a walk to the shops to buy “non-essential items”, and announced it had penalised another man for going for a drive out of boredom.

A return to such dystopian policing was portended ahead of the second lockdown when senior officers said that they would investigate and break up family Christmas parties if the lockdown carried on into the holiday season. Merseyside Chief Constable Andy Cooke also said that it was Britons’ “civic duty” to inform on their neighbours over perceived breaches of lockdown.

Under the new lockdown, Britons must also have a “reasonable excuse” for leaving their house, or face a minimum £200 fine.

Leading figures in the UK including former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption and former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith have warned that the government has gone “too far” in its extending policing powers, with Britain fast turning into a “police state”.

However, ministers have said that because Britons had refused en masse to stay locked in their homes last weekend — instead, continuing to enjoy the fresh air in parks and playgrounds and interacting normally in other open spaces such as markets — that police are prepared to “escalate” their response to rule-breakers.

One minister made a sinister threat to The Telegraph on Sunday: “The message is ‘we are prepared and the police are prepared to escalate our response on this if there is persistent and willful breaching of the law’.

“The police will escalate the response if we see repeated and continuous infringements and flouting of the law. The police are ready — we have protocols in place.”

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