Police have been given new powers to enforce restrictions imposed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
From Thursday 26th March, if the public do not comply with government advice to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, officers have the following powers:
Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.
If anyone refuses to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.
However, in the first instance the police will always apply common sense and seek to Engage, Explain and Encourage. Where individuals refuse to comply, or repeatedly breach the legislation, our officers are ready to enforce the regulations as the public would expect us to do.
Hertfordshire’s Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: "This is a public health emergency and compliance with these measures is considered necessary to achieve the objective of effective social distancing.
"We have all heard the scientific advice which clearly states this will slow the spread of the virus and save people’s lives.
"The constabulary urges self-compliance within all Hertfordshire’s communities. Officers and staff will encourage all citizens to do so, remind those who we see in public who we believe may not be following them to do so, and only resort to enforcement action as a last resort.
"If we all work at this together we will slow the spread, save more lives and enable us to return to normality sooner.”
Individuals will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
Participating in gatherings of more than two people in public spaces is also not permitted except in very limited circumstances, for example, where it is for essential work purposes.