Coronavirus

Coronavirus: policing

What happened?

The Coronavirus Act gives police new powers to detain any of us they think might be infectious.

They can also force you to be tested for the virus and answer questions about travel history and who you have been in contact with. And you can be quarantined without a time limit in an unknown location.

All without the approval of a judge.

If you don’t comply or give false information you could be fined and end up with a crimina­l record.

The Crown Prosecution Service has announced that every single charge made under the Coronavirus Act has been wrong. There is simply no case to be made in favour of the extraordinary power to detain potentially infectious people.

Alongside the new law, the Health Protection Regulations banned public gatherings and non-essential travel, introducing a UK-wide ‘lockdown’. And the police could give out fines and use force if you don’t obey.

But the Government didn’t make clear exactly what these new powers were, leading to incidents of police acting unreasonably and possibly unlawfully. This made it impossible for people to know how to comply with the new rules and stand up to an abuse of these powers.

Giving the police such extensive power to interfere in our lives is particularly concerning for certain communities, and especially people of colour, who are already over-policed. And Liberty Investigates found police were up to seven times more likely to fine black people for breaches of the lockdown than white people.

Liberty Investigates found police were up to seven times more likely to fine black people for breaches of the lockdown than white people.

What we want

The Coronavirus Act has no end date, meaning powers like that allowing police to detain potentially infectious people could be triggered again in the future.

The Coronavirus Act must be scrapped.

The Government must also require local authorities to let everyone appeal against fines they think were issued wrongly.

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