Last night Boris Johnson announced drastic measures to help curb the spread of coronavirus, banning gatherings of more than two people and instructing people to stay in their homes unless carrying out one of four essential tasks. He said the police would enforce the new measures, by dispersing gatherings and fining those who ignore the new rules. But the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF) has suggested the police may struggle to enforce the Government’s new lockdown measures, hinting the army may soon be deployed.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the MPF, has said the lockdown plans would be “very difficult” to implement and said the force had already seen large amounts of sickness among its officers.
He told the BBC: “As you quite rightly point out, we haven’t seen one of the 24,000 officers that we lost across the country.
“So it will be very, very challenging and very difficult for us with what’s put in front of us.
“But we don’t actually know what is being put in front of us yet other than we’re going to be asked to disperse crowds, it’s going to be a real, real challenge.”
Mr Marsh later told Sky News he believed the Army could be drafted should police numbers fall due to illness.
He said: “The Army are already in place on the outskirts of London and across the country. And I don’t doubt again for one minute that they will be called if needed.
“Because if we start losing large numbers in policing terms, through isolation and actually having Covid-19, then they are going to step in and support us in some way.
“It could be tailored in quite quickly and I would save that everything is on the table.”
In his address to the nation, Mr Johnson said police will have the power to fine people £30 if they ignore the rules.
These on-the-spot find will be increased if necessary.
The Prime Minister said Britons will only be allowed to leave their home for four reasons: shopping for basics, exercising once a day, travelling to or from work, to care for a vulnerable person or attend an urgent medical appointment.
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7.48am update: Children can be moved between parents in shared custody
Michael Gove has clarified the Government’s position on parents who share custody of their children.
He said children under the age of 18 can move back and forth between parents, as long as they are not vulnerable.
The cabinet minister said children can see both parents but they should be moved as little as possible.
Published at Tue, 24 Mar 2020 07:31:00 +0000