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What does COVID-19 and policing mean for me?

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The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 is a new emergency law that came into force on 28th March, 2020.  This law gives the police special powers.

If you are outside of your home and you are not social distancing from others the police have new powers to disperse (break up) crowds.  The police will do this in a staged way as follows:

  1. Police will encourage you to social distance or for a crowd to disperse.
  2. The police will give you a reason as to why they want you and your friends to disperse.
  3. If you do not listen to the police they have powers under the new law to enforce social distancing.
What will happen if my friends and/or I don’t social distance when asked by the police?

If you or your friends do not follow the directions of the police then you could be committing a criminal offence.  You may be:

  • given advice or guidance by the police;
  • issued with a Community Resolution Notice (this is a notice that can be issued to anyone 10 years old and over for a range of offences not just for COVID-19);
  • issued a penalty notice of £200 (the penalty notice is not a criminal conviction and can be reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days).

If the police have to issue you with further notices the fine can be doubled and you can be prosecuted if you do not pay the fine or comply with the notice. You can find out more about COVID-19 compliance and penalties here.

For more information you can contact us on 08088085678, email ree@childrenslawcentre.org or online at REE Live Chat.

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