In an Express.co.uk poll, readers voted overwhelmingly to impose heightened sanctions on those who break social distancing rules. Readers voted 80 percent in favour of harsher punishment, while only 20 percent voted no to a toughening of police powers. Of the total amount who voted number 2,868, those who voted Yes accounted for 2,267, No votes come through at 574.
Those who voted “I am not sure” only numbered 27.
Referring to the increase of those flouting the lockdown rules, one Express reader described: “The steady increase in the number of people in our society who see themselves as exceptions to any rules or laws that requires them to apply some self-discipline.”
Another commented: “The streets are crowded here as they would be any other day and there’s more people in parks than would be any other day!”
A third added: “This isn’t a game, it’s not a sport – us against them, it’s life and death.”
Another reader wrote: “Some of the idiots shopping in Tesco are getting careless. I had to explain to some that two metres applies to the sides as well as front and back.
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“They just push past to overtake without any consideration for others. One particular dork was rushing up and down the alcohol aisle squeezing past everyone.
“The staff had to tell him they were operating a one way system but he was too thick to understand.”
However, some readers argued in the comments the UK’s lockdown has been long enough.
Police statistics show that a total of 3,493 fines for alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown laws were issued in England and Wales between March 27 and April 13.
At present police have been given the power to arrest people or fine them up to £960 for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules in England.
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The Government said the unprecedented measures were needed to “reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives”.
These new public health regulations will expire in six months.
They allow police to instruct people violating the guidelines to go home, leave an area or disperse, and to ensure parents stop their children from breaking the rules.
Any adults who commit an offence under the new regulations will be handed £60 fines, reduced to £30 if payment is made within two weeks.
But if anyone has been fined for breaking the coronavirus lockdown before, the fine is doubled to a maximum of £960.
People will not be convicted of an offence if they pay the money within 28 days, after which enforcement action will start.
But, a Home Office spokesperson said: “Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the Regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.
“If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.
“However, in the first instance, the police will always apply their common sense and discretion.”
Under the rules, people can only leave their homes for infrequent shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day, medical needs, caring for a vulnerable person, or going to work if necessary.
So far, gatherings of more than two people in public spaces are banned, unless they are members of the same household or carrying out permitted work.
The Express.co.uk poll was published on the website at 1.15pm on April 24 and closed at 11.15am on April 25.
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