COPS will fine Brits the FIRST time they are caught without a face mask or leave home without a reasonable excuse during lockdown.
Scotland Yard revealed officers will take a tough stance on members of the public leaving home without a "reasonable excuse".
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Under current lockdown rules, you can only leave the house with a reasonable excuse such as exercise, buying food, going to a medical appointment or escaping injury or harm.
Anyone caught by cops without a reasonable excuse could be slapped with a £200 fixed penalty notice for their first offence, with this doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.
Those holding, or involved in holding, an illegal gathering of more than 30 people risk a police-issued fine of £10,000.
Police have been instructed to issue fines more quickly to “anyone committing obvious, wilful and serious breaches”.
The Metropolitan Police yesterday said that officers would still attempt to “engage, explain and encourage” Brits before enforcing the rules – but warned they would issue fines more quickly.
They added that “those not wearing masks where they should be and without good reason can expect to be fined – not reasoned with”.
Under current laws, Brits must wear a mask in all indoor public spaces, such as shops and supermarkets, as well as on public transport and inside taxis.
Exemptions include children under the age of 11 and those who cannot wear a face covering because of a medical condition.
But under the tough new crackdown, Brits will need to provide an excuse to cops to avoid a fine on the spot.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, told MailOnline that Brits with a medical exemption will now need to provide written evidence to officers if they are caught without a mask on.
He said: "If you have a medical reason for not wearing a mask, you now have to print off a clarification that proves you have an exemption.
"This is a problem we've had all along, that before anyone could say they had a medical reason for not wearing a mask and we'd have to just accept it and walk off. That isn't the case now."
He added that Brits would not need to carry the exemption with them at all times, as the person will "be given a certain amount of time" with which to "produce notice of exemption from a doctor".
It comes as Priti Patel today warned that cops would be taking a tougher stance on those flouting lockdown rules.
Ms Patel told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme more than 800 fines had already been issued in the past two weeks for “egregious” breaches of coronavirus rules.
Asked whether officers would question people sitting on park benches during the lockdown she said: “Police have done that, let's be very clear about this.
“Throughout this coronavirus pandemic, during the last lockdown, the police have been asking individuals why are they out and about and should they be out and about, when the message right now is stay at home.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson also urged the government to give police powers of entry to help “enforce the new regulations more easily”.
Mr Jamieson said: “For the small minority of people who refuse entry to police officers and obstruct their work, the power of entry would seem to be a useful tool.
“I have raised this issue with the policing minister previously and clarity on the power of entry would help police officers enforce the new regulations more easily.”
Before Christmas, Mr Jamie said cops would break up festive family gatherings if they were against the rules. He issued similar warnings over Hannukkah and Diwali celebrations.
What you could be fined for
You could face a fine for:
- Being out of your home without a reasonable excuse as below
- Travelling abroad or going on holiday during the lockdown period – as this is not a reasonable excuse
- Breaking Covid rules by having others outside your household inside your home
- Meeting people outside your household outside – unless it's one person for exercise alone
- Hosting a gathering – this could see you get a fine of up to £10,000
- Businesses or venues can be fined up to £10,000 too for continuing to operate despite being ordered to shut
- Not wearing a face covering on public transport or in shops
Reasonable excuses for leaving your home include:
- Work: If you have to go to work as you really can't work from home, this will be allowed. Key workers such as those who work for the police, or NHS, will be permitted to do so
- School: only for the kids of key workers or vulnerable pupils
- Exercise: Boris will continue to allow unlimited exercise outdoors. That means people can carry on going for walks, runs and other forms of exercise outdoors if they wish. You can do that with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household
- Food, drink & supplies: People will still be allowed out to collect food and drink – such as at the supermarket, or take-aways
- Medical appointments: Everyone will be urged to continue to attend hospital and doctor appointments if they need to
- To escape injury or harm; those at risk of harm are allowed to leave their current home and move elsewhere
- To provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer: people will still be allowed to travel to care for people who need it, or attend volunteer work too
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