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Social Distancing: Enforcement

Volume 677: debated on Monday 8 June 2020

As we battle coronavirus, I am in constant contact with law enforcement leads, alongside the Policing Minister. We have listened to their needs from the start and empowered our outstanding police officers and forces to reduce the spread of coronavirus and save lives. Of course, central to that are the social distancing measures, and police continue to work constructively across all our communities to engage, explain and encourage, with enforcement the last resort.

There is so much confusion now about social distancing. Despite just guidance having been given, in Wales, legislation was made to give the police the powers they need to put this in place, so what discussions has the Home Secretary had with Cabinet colleagues to introduce similar legislation now, particularly as we are seeing lockdown lifted and more danger being presented into our communities?

First of all, when it comes to social distancing measures, the Government could not have been clearer that we all need, to stop the spread of the virus and control it—[Interruption.] We do, and from a policing perspective, the regulations are very clear in ensuring that we work constructively with our communities to social distance. As I have said, enforcement is the last resort, and the police have the power to issue fines of up to £100 in the first instance. The hon. Lady will be interested to know that 15,000 fixed penalty notices have been issued from 27 March to 25 May. In Wales, which she mentioned, 1,300 FPNs have been issued, taking the total for England and Wales to just under 17,000.