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Eastwood calls for 2km enforcement zone similar to Republic's as he labels exercise regulations a 'mess'

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Colum Eastwood

Colum Eastwood

Colum Eastwood

Rules on exercise being enforced by the PSNI during the coronavirus lockdown are "a mess", it has been claimed.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood called for a 2km zone to be enforced for exercise, similar to what is in place in the Republic .

He called for the Northern Ireland Executive to add this to the emergency legislation to clarify the rules.

Speaking on the BBC's Nolan Show, he said: "I think that is a bit of a mess. What they have done in the south is say you can exercise within 2km of your house.

"That seems to be at least one way of doing it that seems to be sensible and that you can measure it. That to me seems a good way of trying to do it.

"This was always going to be difficult to police. All of these measures are going to be difficult to police."

He added: "If people don't know what the rules are and it is very difficult for the police to police the rules, then it is a bit of a mess, we need to get that sorted. People needed to be very clear."

Mr Eastwood's comments come after PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd told the Nolan Show that officers have to use their judgment on whether a person's journey is "reasonable and necessary".

He revealed on Thursday that 206 people have so far been fined for breaching coronavirus regulations in Northern Ireland.

Justice Minister Naomi Long - referring to rules currently being enforced on exercise - said that it was not her role to make changes to coronavirus lockdown regulations.

She tweeted: "It's not my role. The regulations are guided by the Department of Health and Chief Medical Officer's advice; technically they need to advise the police what is required for health protection.

"I raised this on behalf of the Chief Constable at the Executive, and it is being addressed."

Belfast Telegraph