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  1. ITV Report

Coronavirus: New powers allow police to break up gatherings

Police across the south have been working together to help respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes as police are due get new powers, following Boris Johnson's announcement on Monday evening.

Under the Government's emergency coronavirus legislation, police will be able to:

  • Break up gatherings of more than two people in public;
  • Fine people if they ignore the 'stay-at-home' and 'two-metre-apart' rules;
  • Arrest and isolate people to protect public health.

“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”

– Boris Johnson, Prime Minister

Sussex Police say the new legislation will help officers to support and enforce the guidelines around the pandemic.

Chief Constable Giles York said that while the force would "continue to take its existing approach" of explaining and engaging with the public, officers would use the new powers as a "last resort".

He said: "I think the public across Sussex, has now started behaving incredibly well. I'm not seeing large groups gather - and many shops, clubs, pubs and restaurants have closed their doors."

  • Chief Constable Giles York, Sussex Police

"I would appeal to everybody to follow the government advice. We're doing it here at the police headquarters because every time you don't, we are required to intervene. You might be putting officers at risk and you might be putting the national health at risk, by increasing the demand on their capacity."

– Chief Constable Giles York, Sussex Police

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know: