March 24, 2020 11.25 am This story is over 43 months old

Lincolnshire PCC: Greater penalties needed to deter ‘lockdown rebels’

‘Think before you contact police’

Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner fears fines will not deter the most “hardcore” determined people from breaching lockdown, however, said he was confident Lincolnshire would be “largely compliant.”

Marc Jones said more legislation and prosecution needed to be in place to tackle those undeterred by the fines, but added that he did not want to see police cells filled with people “being utterly stupid.”

Mr Jones told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines he was reassured the force could handle the lockdown announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in line with its planning.

Officers will initially be giving advice and guidance, however, legislation due out on Thursday is set to give police extra powers, including fining people who breach the lockdown between £30-£1,000.

“I would like to think that in Lincolnshire we’re not going to need to be issuing people with fines – however, there’s always going to be that hardcore element.

“If we have got to the point they’re ignoring advice and having officers issue fines… I don’t think £30 fine is going to put them off.”

However, he warned: “We’ve got to maintain policing by consent… we don’t want to have ruined that relationship with the public when this all ends.

“I don’t think policing like they do in Lombardy is the best starting point for our society.”

Mr Jones was confident the initial impact of the lockdown would be manageable but recognised the situation was “only going to get worse over the coming weeks.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on the public to follow the government’s advice on social distancing.

He said steps were being taken to maximise staff numbers, including urging businesses to release special constables and cutting back on non-essential training.

Lincolnshire Police also has access to emergency networks whereby they can draw officers from other forces.

Mr Jones said the matter was under constant review, but it was also right that all resources, including armed forces, were brought to bare if needed.

He urged people to think before contacting police as to whether their calls were truly a matter for officers to investigate.

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