COVID-19 Police state

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Grumble
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COVID-19 Police state

Post by Grumble » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:07 am

My parents, both over 70, are happy to combine their social distancing and their exercise. They can’t see that going for a walk in the countryside breaks either of these (and neither can I), and they know the countryside well enough to choose spots that are less popular. The police seem to have taken it upon themselves to declare that if you need to get in a car to go for your exercise then it’s not essential travel. I’m worried they’re going to run afoul of police who are over-reaching their powers with no real oversight.
Last edited by Stephanie on Thu May 14, 2020 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Matatouille
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by Matatouille » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:22 am

Grumble wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:07 am
My parents, both over 70, are happy to combine their social distancing and their exercise. They can’t see that going for a walk in the countryside breaks either of these (and neither can I), and they know the countryside well enough to choose spots that are less popular. The police seem to have taken it upon themselves to declare that if you need to get in a car to go for your exercise then it’s not essential travel. I’m worried they’re going to run afoul of police who are over-reaching their powers with no real oversight.
Yes, I have the same fears for my parents (one early 70s, one early 60s but in full self isolation because of the other and because my granny, early 90s is with staying with them). They live in a village with a decent number of footpaths branching out from it, but these can be quite busy and bottleneck in places so difficult to maintain distancing in all circumstances. There are plenty of places that they can get to in 5-7 min drive that will result in meeting zero people.

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Grumble
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by Grumble » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:41 am

That’s the thing. They can’t see how it’s possible to get any actual exercise from their front doors - for context my dad takes turns leading the local Ramblers elite group - and they’re going to find it far harder to stay the right distance from people if they go from the front door.

I do have some sympathy for the police position, they need a clear set of guidelines to follow, and clear is the enemy of nuanced.
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by lpm » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:55 am

The law specifically goes out of its way to state you can leave home to exercise. It is silent on whether you can drive somewhere to do this, how long it can be for or where it can be done. Therefore you can legally drive 4 hours to the Peak District for a 12 hour walk.

The police should enforce the law.

The guidelines say exercise should be local and mentions open spaces. The term "local" is not described further.

The police should not enforce guidelines, for obvious reasons. The public should follow guidelines, for obvious reasons.
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by Pucksoppet » Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:44 am

lpm wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:55 am
The law specifically goes out of its way to state you can leave home to exercise. It is silent on whether you can drive somewhere to do this, how long it can be for or where it can be done. Therefore you can legally drive 4 hours to the Peak District for a 12 hour walk.

The police should enforce the law.

The guidelines say exercise should be local and mentions open spaces. The term "local" is not described further.

The police should not enforce guidelines, for obvious reasons. The public should follow guidelines, for obvious reasons.
Isn't there an old saw along the lines of 'Guidelines are for the observance of fools and guidance of wise men."?

Separating the foolish from the wise is left as an exercise for the reader.

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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by Opti » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:23 pm

I'm sure that Anarcho-syndicalism would have got on top of this situation much more efficiently. :roll:
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Stupidosaurus
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by Stupidosaurus » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:29 pm

Our local plod (GMP Leigh, Atherton & Worsley) have put this out on FB (see below), so looks like they have got a 1h limit in mind. Gove has said something similar (hour walk, half hour run) but he might have been making it up on the spot.


Pennington Flash is closed to visitors, yet on attending today there were people who had driven from Worsley to walk here so not exercising locally, a couple on a six mile walk, so out longer than 1 hour (trust me they weren't Olympic speed walkers), and a couple from Higher Ince and Platt Bridge who drove there, moved the cones blocking the entrance, and were going to park up and go for a run!! This is serious, People are dying, and our superb NHS colleagues are at breaking point. PLEASE OBSERVE THE RULES OF THE LOCKDOWN! Simples! Set the example, don't be the example!

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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by mediocrity511 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:29 pm

Opti wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:23 pm
I'm sure that Anarcho-syndicalism would have got on top of this situation much more efficiently. :roll:
Although Kropotkin would be quite heartened with how mutual aid groups are providing a lot of local support in communities. It's weird, there's all the big state actions at the top but alongside that there's a massive amount of self organising on a scale that we haven't seen before.

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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by lpm » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:46 pm

Stupidosaurus wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:29 pm
Our local plod (GMP Leigh, Atherton & Worsley) have put this out on FB (see below), so looks like they have got a 1h limit in mind. Gove has said something similar (hour walk, half hour run) but he might have been making it up on the spot.


Pennington Flash is closed to visitors, yet on attending today there were people who had driven from Worsley to walk here so not exercising locally, a couple on a six mile walk, so out longer than 1 hour (trust me they weren't Olympic speed walkers), and a couple from Higher Ince and Platt Bridge who drove there, moved the cones blocking the entrance, and were going to park up and go for a run!! This is serious, People are dying, and our superb NHS colleagues are at breaking point. PLEASE OBSERVE THE RULES OF THE LOCKDOWN! Simples! Set the example, don't be the example!
There is no 1 hour limit. Random members of police running Facebook accounts are inventing their own time limits.

The length of the drives mentioned are 8.6 miles, 7.1 miles and 6.0 miles. Random members of police running Facebook accounts are inventing their own definitions of "local".
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:53 pm

There's a big woodland reserve on the outskirts of my town. The municipal government has closed it, to stop people from different parts of town traveling there and infecting each other.

The point of the lockdown is to slow the spread of the virus, including geographically. People have to travel a certain distance to access immediate essentials like food and medical services. They shouldn't be going further than that, or in the opposite direction, unless it's impossible to exercise safely closer than that.
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by AMS » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:56 pm

It's a nice example of why rules need to be unambiguous.

Also, I suspect many people would feel that 6 miles from home counts as local. Our "local" ITV news spans an area from Norfolk to Northants.

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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by headshot » Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:07 pm

We went for a 14k walk from our house yesterday and passed about 6 people in the countryside, until we got back into the burbs where there were 10s of people to avoid, including queues outside Tesco Express.

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Grumble
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by Grumble » Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:16 pm

AMS wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:56 pm
It's a nice example of why rules need to be unambiguous.

Also, I suspect many people would feel that 6 miles from home counts as local. Our "local" ITV news spans an area from Norfolk to Northants.
I would count within 50 miles as local, especially if it would give more surety of maintaining physical distance. 1 hour doesn’t begin to count as exercise in my parents’ book.
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by lpm » Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:58 pm

AMS wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:56 pm
It's a nice example of why rules need to be unambiguous.
The UK government intentionally kept the guidelines ambiguous. People are capable of using their own brains to decide on local and time spent. The govt could easily have stated a guideline of "do not drive more than 3 miles" or "return to your home within 1 hour" - they deliberately didn't. Other countries have made different rules, e.g. 1 km in Paris, 30 minutes dog walking.

Parliament makes laws, not the police, and parliament has passed one of the most extraordinary laws in the many centuries of its existence - requiring citizens to stay at home. Our democratically elected MPs voted for this, it was approved by the House of Lords and was signed into law by the monarch. This is where laws come from in a democracy. I don't know what a definition of "police state" would be, but its something like a state where the police has the power to invent laws or punishments. Let's not support the police in their current power grab, accidental though it probably is.

Under the emergency laws, the govt has the power to enact further restrictions, but the current law is clear: we can leave home "to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household". No restrictions or conditions are specified on this.
6.—(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living
without reasonable excuse.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a reasonable excuse includes the need—

(a) to obtain basic necessities, including food and medical supplies for those in the same
household (including any pets or animals in the household) or for vulnerable persons and
supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, or the
household of a vulnerable person, or to obtain money, including from any business listed
in Part 3 of Schedule 2;

(b) to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household;

(c) to seek medical assistance, including to access any of the services referred to in paragraph
37 or 38 of Schedule 2;

(d) to provide care or assistance, including relevant personal care within the meaning of
paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 4 to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006(a), to
a vulnerable person, or to provide emergency assistance;

(e) to donate blood;

(f) to travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it
is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the
place where they are living;

(g) to attend a funeral of—
(i) a member of the person’s household,
(ii) a close family member, or
(iii) if no-one within sub-paragraphs (i) or (ii) are attending, a friend;

(h) to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to
participate in legal proceedings;
(i) to access critical public services, including—
(a) 2006 c. 47. Sub-paragraph (3B) was substituted, with sub-paragraphs (1), (3) and (3A) to (3E) for sub-paragraphs (1) to (3)
by s. 66(2) of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (c. 9).5

(i) childcare or educational facilities (where these are still available to a child in relation
to whom that person is the parent, or has parental responsibility for, or care of the
child);
(ii) social services;
(iii) services provided by the Department of Work and Pensions;
(iv) services provided to victims (such as victims of crime);

(j) in relation to children who do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of
their parents, to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between,
parents and children, and for the purposes of this paragraph, “parent” includes a person
who is not a parent of the child, but who has parental responsibility for, or who has care
of, the child;

(k) in the case of a minister of religion or worship leader, to go to their place of worship;

(l) to move house where reasonably necessary;

(m) to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by discovolante » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:04 pm

lpm wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:58 pm
(m) to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm

BTW this bit needs to be circulated widely for the victims of DV who still have net access...
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by quiescent » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:06 pm

I can't see how it would be workable to have unambiguous rules for this - what's safe and appropriate is going to depend so heavily on local context. That makes things very awkward because the public can't be sure the police will have the same view on what is 'safe and appropriate'. It's fertile ground for unconscious bias too.

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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by Pucksoppet » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:52 pm

quiescent wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:06 pm
I can't see how it would be workable to have unambiguous rules for this - what's safe and appropriate is going to depend so heavily on local context. That makes things very awkward because the public can't be sure the police will have the same view on what is 'safe and appropriate'. It's fertile ground for unconscious bias too.
I think what normally happens is that the police interpret the law as strictly as they can, and if you disagree, you can have your day in court (or courts, if you appeal) where things are sorted out later. Sometimes much later. Or if cynical, if at all.

It is kind of inevitable if the police think they could be criticised, or even punished, for interpreting the law too leniently, especially when people have evidence in the form of audio and video recordings.

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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by lpm » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:09 pm

How many pub lock-ins on Friday and Saturday night do you reckon the police failed to enforce? Much more fun to go off and fly a drone in the Peak District than face a bit of agro at the Dog and Duck.
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by jimbob » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:13 pm

Grumble wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:16 pm
AMS wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:56 pm
It's a nice example of why rules need to be unambiguous.

Also, I suspect many people would feel that 6 miles from home counts as local. Our "local" ITV news spans an area from Norfolk to Northants.
I would count within 50 miles as local, especially if it would give more surety of maintaining physical distance. 1 hour doesn’t begin to count as exercise in my parents’ book.
It *begins* to count as exercise, but only barely if I'm walking.

6-hours walking at speed over hilly ground is exercise and that's not even a proper day-walk.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by KAJ » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:15 pm


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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by tenchboy » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:29 pm

lpm wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:58 pm
List of Reasons for Leaving Home
Thanks for that.
Do you think that 'a reasonable excuse includes the need...' (my italics) means that they would consider other reasons not included here if you made a decent argument in their favour?

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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by lpm » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:33 pm

Think so. The David Allen Green article says it means other reasons can be used, but would need to meet the implicit standards illustrated by the examples of what is a "reasonable" excuse.
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by Stranger Mouse » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:38 pm

And while some of us debate what a reasonable interpretation of the law would be others throw a party for 25 people with a finger buffet https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/29/police-b ... -12474264/
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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by Grumble » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:44 pm

Stranger Mouse wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:38 pm
And while some of us debate what a reasonable interpretation of the law would be others throw a party for 25 people with a finger buffet https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/29/police-b ... -12474264/
Yep, my parents are trying to comply with the intent of the guidance, but may run afoul of police. These idiots aren’t even pretending to comply.
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

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Re: COVID-19 Police state

Post by discovolante » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:47 pm

You'll all be reassured by this then: https://twitter.com/HudsonKerry/status/ ... 4118060036
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