Are the police getting the lockdown rules wrong?
By Joe Harker
The UK is in a state of lockdown and it's up to the police to enforce it as much as they can.
People can only travel to work if it's essential to battling the coronavirus and they can't do it from home, while there is also an allowance for people to go out and exercise once a day. The public can go out to shop for essentials.
When out and about social distancing rules of staying at least two metres apart are in effect.
It's a difficult thing to enforce and police bosses have admitted they face a "real challenge" when it comes to making sure people follow the rules, but are they already getting it wrong?
It would appear that there have been several cases of the police getting it wrong during the first week of the lockdown, with people punished for doing things which aren't actually banned.
Some convenience stores have been told by the police to stop selling easter eggs because they aren't essential goods, but the restrictions define what shops are essential rather than telling them they can't sell things.
If a shop is allowed to be open under lockdown rules then they are allowed to sell what they have on their shelves. The police are not allowed to tell businesses deemed essential what they can sell and attempting to do so is dangerous.
Public health expert Professor Robert Dingwall has warned that the police getting it wrong now will "risk confrontation" with the public. If people are acting within the limits of the law then they shouldn't be punished, particularly as they are facing a significant amount of time stuck at home.
If the police don't know what the actual rules of the lockdown are then they will be misinforming the public when they attempt to enforce what they think are the restrictions and eroding public trust.
For those who are tasked with enforcing the lockdown it is vitally important that they actually know the rules they are supposed to be enforcing.
The Counter Claim:
On the other hand, there have been people who have flouted the rules of the lockdown and been a nuisance the police have had to deal with.
There's going to be a significant amount of strain on the police during this difficult time and it would really help if they had as few things to worry about as possible.
The police absolutely have to get things right when it comes to the lockdown but that doesn't mean the public should be held to any lower standard, responsibility will be vitally important during the pandemic.
Don't be an idiot, follow the rules of the lockdown and respect the social distancing guidelines.
Know the rules, follow the rules and understand that they are in place for a reason. It is important that people respect the lockdown and that the police enforce the rules properly, overstepping their bounds now will only lead to confusion and a lack of trust.