Security guards at an English supermarket called the police on a disabled man who refused to wear a yellow sticker exempting him from wearing a mask.
Since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the first police-enforced lockdown on March 23rd, 2020, Britons have subjected to overzealous policing of their activities and a suppression of their freedoms.
After British supermarkets made mask-wearing mandatory, security guards have taken to demanding shoppers cover their face before entering or be banned. Those with disabilities, young children, or others with exemptions do not have to wear one. But some supermarkets offer lanyards or badges to designate those that they deem can enter their stores with their faces uncovered.
The Sun reported on Wednesday the case of man, who said he was disabled, being threatened with police action unless he wore a yellow exemption badge to reassure other shoppers.
Footage shared on social media showed him being confronted by two security guards, one appearing to call the police, with the shopper helpfully offering she call the non-emergency number, 111, rather than 999, whose operators he said would not be “happy” to be bothered with a non-emergency call.
“I’m not conforming to no sticker laws. Sorry,” the shopper said, noting that the requirement to wear such a mark was not law, calling the shop’s policy “totalitarian”.
When the male guard told him it was to “explain” to other people that he was exempt, the shopper responded: “I shouldn’t need to explain. I’ve got a medical exemption. That should be enough. I shouldn’t have to declare my medical exemption. That’s a Discrimination Act thing.”
UK Police Apologise After Covid Cop Called Man ‘Idiot’ and Wrongly Detained Him https://t.co/X16qaPz3gG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 29, 2021
“If they ask me, I can tell them. I don’t need a sticker. I’m perfectly capable of communicating with somebody,” he added, as the female guard walked off, apparently to call the police.
Morrison’s, one of the largest supermarkets in the UK, apologised to the man, saying there was no policy forcing someone with an exemption to wear a mask. However, it reiterated that it would ban shoppers without exemptions who refuse to wear one.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a rise in police, politicians, and members of the public backing a hard crackdown on supposed lockdown rule-breakers.
Police have also shared stories on social media of them punishing or shaming rule-breakers with some relish, including when they cracked down on rural dog walkers and fined a man for going to his friend’s house for a cup of tea.
British police could not have done it without the help of citizens, however.
Government ministers calling on Britons to inform on their neighbours if they suspected them of breaking social distancing rules led to incidents including one woman calling the police on a funeral wake in a pub garden because she thought people were standing too close to each other.
The woman, who had shot footage of the wake from quite some distance, had claimed it was her “public duty” to inform on the mourners.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 26, 2020