Are Police Stopping Cars During The Coronavirus?< Back to blog
Since the UK went into lockdown on March 23 2020 as a result of the coronavirus the police have been given new powers to prevent it from spreading.
One such power is restricting any travel deemed ‘non-essential’. This has resulted in many drivers up and down the country being ordered to stop by police mid-journey to find out what their reason for travel is.
So, what do the new regulations say about when you can go out in your car during lockdown? And what should you do if you’re pulled over by the police while travelling during the coronavirus outbreak? Read on to find out how to stay safe and on the right side of the law during these times.
Where are police stopping cars?
- Cheshire – police checkpoints have been set up on major routes in the county, with drivers being stopped in Crewe, the A41 in Hooton and major roads around Chester and Ellesmere Port.
- Cornwall – road blocks in Falmouth, Newquay and the areas of Hayle, Penzance and St Ives.
- Derbyshire – Aerial drones are being used by police to spot non-essential travel to popular tourist locations, including National Park and The Peak District.
- Devon and Plymouth – police have been seizing cars on Dartmoor National Park while random check points have been set up across both areas.
- Merseyside – random police stop checks in St Helens, Toxteth and other inner-city areas of Liverpool.
- North Yorkshire – spot checks on key routes and the city centre in Durham, Darlington while the military have been supporting police with stop checks in Richmondshire.
- Scotland – police have increased patrols in ‘key areas’ of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
- Wales – routinely checks by police have been happening in North Wales, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.
When can I drive my car?
While the government’s coronavirus action plan is designed to ensure everyone stays home wherever possible, you can still use your car for essential travel.
- Driving to the shops for basic necessities (food, medicine and other home essentials).
- Travelling to and from work, if the nature of your work is classed as essential in the effort against coronavirus.
- Medical needs or if you’re out helping someone who is classed as vulnerable to catching the virus (e.g. doing a food shop for an elderly person).
If you’re stopped by the police and can’t provide a ‘reasonable excuse’ for travel such as the ones listed above, then the least that can happen is that you’re told to go home. However, under the new rules you could potentially be fined or arrested for if you’re caught driving unnecessarily.
Fines and enforcement
Being instructed to go home is the first step the police will take if you can’t give them a reason for your travel which shows that it’s essential.
You can also be issued with a fixed penalty fine of £60*, which can rise to £120 for second time offenders and doubles each time after this.
*this will be halved to £30 if it’s paid within 14 days.
Refusing to pay the fines could lead to you being taken to court, where magistrates can impose unlimited fines.
According to the government’s statement on new police powers, you could be arrested if you continued to not comply with fines/enforcement.
Appealing police fines during the coronavirus outbreak
If you think that you’ve been unjustly fined after being stopped by the police for driving during the lockdown, you can appeal it.
You must issue an appeal within 28 days of receiving the fine and it must be to the authority which has issued it. After this, a magistrates’ court hearing will likely take place in order to determine whether the fine is justified or if it should be dropped.
Remember: You should seek legal advice before deciding to contest a fine, otherwise you risk losing an appeal and paying more than the original fine.
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