Police in the UK will be allowed to use force against people who refuse to obey the coronavirus lockdown

A policeman stands in the Mall decked out with Union Jack flags in London, Britain May 23, 2019.

  • Police will reportedly be able to use reasonable force to ensure people comply with lockdown measures.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced strict new social distancing rules on Monday.
  • Brits can only leave their homes for essential reasons like buying food and exercise.
  • Police will first encourage people indoors, then issue a fine, then be able to use reasonable force as a last resort.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Police in the UK will reportedly be able to use reasonable force against people who refuse to comply with the coronavirus lockdown measures, under plans being discussed by ministers.

Officers will begin a "four-point plan" if they see people who appear to be breaching the lockdown which Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Here's how it is set to work:

  1. They will first approach the person or group in question and ask why they are out.
  2. They will then encourage the person to go home.
  3. If the person does not comply, the officer will issue them with a fine.
  4. As a last resort, police will be able to use "reasonable force" to make people return home.

There will be exemptions for certain people, including those fleeing domestic violence, for religious ministers, for homeless people, for separated parents visiting their children, the Guardian reported, adding that there would be no exemptions for people who wish to visit their boyfriends or girlfriends if they do not live together.

Footage emerged on social media this week showing police in west London dispersing sunbathers from a park, and telling them: "This is not a holiday, it's lockdown."

Johnson announced a strict new lockdown on Monday in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Scientific modelling by experts had persuaded the government that less strict measures would lead to the National Health Service becoming overwhelmed with patients suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 virus.

Under the new measures, people are allowed to leave their homes only to purchase essentials and to exercise once a day. Johnson said on Monday that police would have the power to issue fines but did not provide further details on how the measures would be enforced.

A poll published on Wednesday indicated that several million people in the UK, which has a population of approximately 66.5 million people, are not complying with the new measures.

The JL Partners survey, commissioned by ITV, found that 5% of people are still not washing their hands more than usual.

Meanwhile, 6% of people are still shaking their hands and hugging, while 8% of people are shopping when it is not necessary. Seven percent of people said they were still seeing people outside of their immediate family.

Follow the latest developments in the UK's fight against the coronavirus.

Get the latest coronavirus analysis and research from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is impacting businesses.

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