The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own separate rules for managing the threat of coronavirus – but in each part of the UK, the police must enforce them.
It is against the law in every part of the UK to be outside the place where you live “without reasonable excuse”, or to be part of a public gathering. If someone refuses to follow the regulations – for instance a request to break up a barbecue and go home – officers can give them an on-the-spot penalty – basically an instant fine, like a parking ticket, without the involvement of a court.
In England those penalties now start at £100 for a first offence – reduced to £50 if paid promptly – through to a maximum of £3,200. They are lower in the rest of the UK.
Police could ultimately charge anyone, anywhere in the UK, with the offence of breaching coronavirus regulations. That power would lead to court, possible conviction – and therefore a criminal record – and even greater fines.
Dominic Casciani – BBC News – May 13, 2020.