Police can’t enforce social distancing in England

The College of Policing have issued a statement — PDF here — saying that government guidelines cannot be enforced. This means that the government’s social distancing guidelines are not enforceable in England. They can try to harass you over it, but they cannot enforce it, so tell them to go away if they try. I suggest carrying the PDF around with you to show them if they try it on.

Wales is different, they say, social distancing can be enforced there, though only in public, not in workplaces.

The College admits that it cannot force you to wear face masks, or tell you not to use public transport.

Their advice stresses that people cannot leave their homes without a reasonable excuse, but the list of reasonable excuses has grown. You can now go outside for ‘recreation’, and meet up with one person from another household. You can go to garden centres, tips, and outdoor sports courts.

It says that gatherings of three or more people from different households are not permitted. However, I don’t see how they can enforce this. If you just ‘happen’ to run into various friends in a public space that’s a nice surprise for you all. If they insist you disperse, then disperse for a bit, then accidentally run into each other again a bit later. They cannot tell you to go home. They cannot tell you not to sit on a park bench. (Well, they might still tell you, but pull out the printout and politely remind them that they have no power over such things.)

You’re still not allowed to visit friend’s homes. However, you can if you are protecting a vulnerable person, or for medical purposes (ie. bringing an elderly relative some meds).

And, in case you didn’t notice, last week the government quietly allowed  cleaners and nannies to be used again. If you suggest that this was allowed to suit them you’re very cynical.

Cynical people might also suggest hiring your friends as cleaners to clean your house for a small fee, which would allow them to come over. Cleaning is tiring, so they might need frequent rests and some coffee and tea and wine to keep them going.

Here are snips of the relevant PDF:

And page 2:

Thanks to the person who sent me this PDF (I’m assuming he wants anonymity).

Update: Got quite a few guest posts in the pipeline, and more graphs to go up soon, but I’m always looking for more submissions.

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14 thoughts on “Police can’t enforce social distancing in England

  1. Went out today and what a depressing experience.

    British bulldog spirit? Perfidious Albion?

    No, just a lot of scared, cowed, unthinking sheeple who are that scared of death they have given up on living. No questioning of Government, no independent research into things, ye gods it was depressing.

    Ours is now such a risk-adverse, over-sissified HSE driven, dumbed down society this could happen very easily in a matter of weeks and that is what scares me most: how easily the world economy was destroyed, how millions of people in China “disappeared” without explanation and which has been documented in the UK and the USA on a lesser scale, how hundreds of millions of people will be in permanent poverty, untold dead from starvation, murder, self-isolation mental problems etc to supposedly give a few thousand already seriously ill people an extra few months of life.

    Only 1 person spoke to me and that was when we had a laugh about a shop displaying a “cash only” sign as their card machine was broken. Very few going in, we agreed it was because they believed touching cash would cause the flesh to melt off their hands. He agreed it was all a crock as well so only ones with any balls are unbelievers.

    The mini-hitlers in hi-vis bossing people around outside garden centres and pet shops we went to soon when quiet when I explained to them there was no scientific or legal reason to adhere to and follow the 2m social distancing so why were they doing it? Orders was the answer. The Nuremberg Principle says this is not a valid defence. They looked sheepish and let me in with lots of aghast looks by others in the queue.

    But while waiting outside a shop as I had no interest in going into super drug with the wife I realised why the government push self-isolation and not official isolation.

    If you self-isolate it is voluntary, no-one forced you or made you do it.

    To enforce isolation as by the Public Health (Control of disease) Act 1984 and the Statutory Instrument Coronavirus Act (which it isn’t) 2020 they have to:

    – get a doctor to think you as an individual may be infected with either “coronavirus disease” which means COVID-19 or “coronavirus” means severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) as is stated in the above S.I.
    – they then have to perform a test to confirm it but as is known there is no reliable test for these “illnesses” that can be performed to say without a doubt you are infected
    – then they have to get a proper person of the local authority to issue a notice saying you are infected
    – a Justice of the peace then has to sign the notice
    – the notice then has to be served on you as an individual
    – they then must take you to a hospital or other place until you get better
    – if you miss work etc then the local authority must compensate you

    Much, much easier to get you to self-isolate isn’t it?

  2. Wales is different, they say, social distancing can be enforced there, though only in public, not in workplaces

    Anyone know what legal/police sitation is in NI and Scot?

    @John L
    Spot on. Two weeks ago I observed peeps were becoming More scared – Social-Phobia

  3. I think the new regulations in England are Boris’s way of giving power back to the people without actually saying so. He daren’t just say ‘Its up to you, be sensible’ because the usual suspects would rip him apart. So he’s created this fog of conflicting advice, while at the same time reducing the legal power of the police to do anything to stop people doing what they want to. There’s now enough unarguable reasons for being out and about that everyone now can do much as they please, because if asked they have a reason that can’t be gainsaid. ‘I’m just driving to take some exercise Officer’ ‘I’m walking to meet my friend in the park Officer’ ‘I’m going fishing Officer, look there’s my rod in the boot’ Even if you are hundreds of miles from home, as long as you’re still in England, you can’t be stopped or fined by the police.

    I smell the hand of Dominic Cummings in it, its very clever. They’ve effectively ended the lockdown in England, without explicitly telling anyone, and will just let people discover their freedom for themselves.

  4. “They’ve effectively ended the lockdown in England, without explicitly telling anyone,”

    …. well, for goodness sake everyone: get out and mingle and enjoy yourself!!

  5. Jim,
    I agree entirely, and I thought this was the case almost immediately after hearing what The Dear Leader said on Sunday night. I feel your reasoning is spot on. The two things they’re concerned about are the finances and saving political face,
    I said to my wife on Monday morning, “I smell the hand of DC in this”.
    If we’re right, it’s an extremely clever move, as it gets them off the hook without making them look like the clowns they really are.

  6. I think that from the moment the “herd immunity” approach was officially abandoned the government have been embarked on a panic management strategy. Given the number of panicked people that was necessary . Now they will wind it down as the panic winds down.
    Of course, herd immunity remains the only available means of ending the disease, but that doesn’t require much management, and the panic rendered proper management impossible.

  7. As I understand it, isn’t social distancing based (as far as it has anything to do with science) on how far sneezes/coughs spread droplets? So if you’re not coughing/sneezing, or cough/sneeze into a tissue, surely it’s unnecessary?

    Just a thought!

  8. I’ve read that when talking people can eject small droplets, so in theory that could spread the virus. But for non-interactions walking past peole the 2m rule may be health theatre more than a genuine safe distance.

  9. Let’s hope more people start to set a clear unlockdowned example then! The sheeple need some clear leadership on this.

  10. The WHO only recommended 1m spacing way back in March. That would make many of the current ridiculous return-to-work logistical fiascos much easier to solve for starters.

  11. What analysis that has been done suggests that you have to spend a fair amount of time in close physical proximity to people to catch it from them. Social events where people mingle closely for prolonged periods have seemed to create hotspots of transmission, living in the same house with someone likewise increases the risk. Thus its entirely possible that sending 2.4m students home from uni was one of the biggest spreaders of the disease, entirely created by the lockdown. Students are far more likely to have been infected from heavy social interaction, and living in communal housing, far more likely to be asymptomatic, and thus sending them back to live at home with middle aged parents (and maybe grandparents) may actually have spread the virus more, and killed more people, than if they’d been told to stay at uni, and go on living as normal, including normal social interaction.

  12. Absolutely, and they also mention 15 minutes in the equation. So 15 mins inside, within 1m was a contact. So we do 2m, even for a milli second, outside because we are following ‘The Science’.

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