Contact Us

For media enquiries call
020 3276 3803
or 07803 903686 for urgent out of hours enquiries.

You can also email the press office.

Follow us on @policechiefs

Police in England to have reduced role in enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions as lockdown ends

19 Jul 2021

Police in England will have a much reduced role in the enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions from today (Monday 19 July 2021) as the Government lifts most rules.

The majority of regulations have been revoked. Police continue to have a limited role in the remaining regulations.

In line with the remaining Health Protection Regulations on self-isolation and international travel, the police may continue to receive reports that individuals are not self-isolating after being instructed to by local authority and health officials, such as NHS Track and Trace, or following international travel. Officers are guided to visit their address and encourage the person to isolate or issue an FPN if the person is blatantly breaching the regulations and refuses to comply.

Police officers may also be called to assist in any cases where an individual has absconded from a managed quarantine facility.

Local authorities continue to have powers to issue directions in relation to individual premises, events and public outdoor places to tackle localised outbreaks under the Heath Protections Regulations No3. The police have enforcement powers under these regulations, which can include stopping an event, directing a person(s) to leave or removing a person(s) if they fail to comply.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020 (c. 7), police are given powers to direct or remove a potentially infectious person to a place for screening and assessment. It will only be used in exceptional circumstances and on direction of a public health officer.

As throughout the pandemic, government guidance is not legally enforceable by the police.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair Martin Hewitt, said:

“Today marks a significant day in our battle against Covid-19 and is a testament to everyone who has made sacrifices to help curb the spread of the virus.

“With the majority of restrictions being lifted, the police role is now limited. Where regulations remain in place, such as in international travel and self-isolation, police will continue to play their part using good sense and taking a proportionate approach.

“Restrictions in place during the past year and a half have reduced the opportunities for criminals to offend and we have seen falls in crime and violence. Sadly, as those restrictions ease we do expect to see that trend reverse. Police forces are active in preventing and tackling crime and violence.

“Enjoy the return of more freedoms but respect the restrictions still in place and don’t be a drain on the police or emergency services.”

 

Notes to editors:

Remaining regulations:

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020

  • These regulations make it an offence not to self-isolate if instructed to by certain local authority and health officials, such as NHS Track and Trace (this does not apply where notifications are received by the NHS Covid-19 app).
  • The police role remains unchanged.
  • College of Policing guidance is available here.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) Regulations 2021

  • Under the regulations, international travellers arriving in England may have certain restrictions, including mandatory COVID-19 testing, home self-isolation or hotel isolation. It is dependent on where their country sits on the government’s red, amber and green list.
  • The police role will remain as it currently is.
  • For arrivals from the red list, police may get asked to look for someone who has absconded from a managed quarantine facility. Security at these facilities is not managed by police.
  • The government’s private security contractor will continue to check compliance for amber list arrivals who are required to isolate and refer cases to the police where they believe a breach has occurred.
  • College of Policing guidance is available here (guidance to be updated later today).

 The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 3) (England) Regulations 2020

  • These regulations give local authorities powers to issue directions in relation to individual premises, events and public outdoor places to respond quickly to localised spikes in Covid-19 transmission and variants of concern.
  • The police have enforcement powers under these regulations, which can include stopping an event, directing a person(s) to leave or removing a person(s) if they fail to comply.
  • College of Policing guidance is available here.

Coronavirus Act 2020 (c. 7)

  • Under this Act, police are given powers to direct or remove a potentially infectious person to a place for screening and assessment. It will only be used in exceptional circumstances and on direction of a public health officer.
  • College of Policing guidance is available here.