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Surrey Police Federation

Surrey Police Federation: #StayAlert is ‘almost impossible’ to police

11 May 2020

Surrey Police Federation has warned the Government’s latest COVID-19 ‘Stay Alert’ messaging means it’s ‘virtually impossible’ to police the lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced changes to the lockdown policy in a televised address on Sunday 10 May.

However, Surrey Police Federation Chair Mel Warnes says the messaging wasn’t clear and that the change from ‘Stay Home’ to ‘Stay Alert’ will encourage more people to flout the rules.

In his pre-recorded speech to the nation, Boris Johnson said that people who cannot work from home should be “actively encouraged to go to work”. Although he did say people should avoid public transport and maintain social distancing.

From Wednesday, ‘unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise’ will be allowed, and people will be able to drive to a destination to exercise.

People will also be allowed to meet and sit down with one other person from outside their household, outdoors if they remain two metres apart.

“The message from the Government lacks clarity and does not make things clear at all,” Mel said.

“It does not enable officers to have clear guidance on what can be enforced and ultimately makes it virtually impossible to police.

“Surrey Police officers have been working really hard in engaging with the public, particularly around beauty spots in Surrey. However, the latest guidance which allows unlimited exercise, travelling to places and sitting in parks makes our job so much harder.

“Some of the public have already been acting as if lockdown has been lifted and have had no regard to the rules and unclear messaging will just make this worse,” she said.