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Parents whose children break lockdown rules given social services warning

Police were given new powers to enforce Covid-19 restrictions on people’s movements on Thursday.

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Police on patrol to enforce the coronavirus lockdown rules (Ben Birchall/PA)

Police on patrol to enforce the coronavirus lockdown rules (Ben Birchall/PA)

Police on patrol to enforce the coronavirus lockdown rules (Ben Birchall/PA)

Parents whose children break Covid-19 lockdown rules have been warned they could be reported to social services.

Officers with West Mercia Police also reminded those responsible for youngsters “this is not a holiday, it’s a lockdown”, hours after they were given new powers to enforce restrictions on movements in England.

The comments were made in a tweet by neighbourhood patrol officers in Herefordshire, on Thursday.

As of 1pm on Thursday, officers in England were given powers to enforce restrictions on movement in England with fines among other measures.

Police can order members of the public to go home, leave an area, have the power to disperse a group, using “reasonable force, if necessary” and can make arrests if someone refuses to comply.

Those who ignore the tougher restrictions on movement could be hit with a £60 fine initially – reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days – and another of £120 for a second offence.

Those who do not pay could be taken to court and risk facing unlimited fines.

Refusing to provide a name and address to avoid being given a fine is an arrestable offence.

Officers can also take steps to make sure parents are stopping their children from breaking the rules.

We are concerned that children could put, not only themselves, but the wider community at riskChief Superintendent Tom Harding, West Mercia Police

The regulations are classed as emergency laws.

They must be reviewed at least once every 21 days, starting on April 16.

Chief Superintendent Tom Harding, of West Mercia Police, said: “We are very much focusing on engaging, explaining and encouraging the public to ensure communities stay home and save lives.

“We’ve made it clear that where this isn’t working, we will seek to use our enforcement powers.

“As is the case throughout the year, if we have concerns about the health and wellbeing of a child, then referrals are made to other agencies to ensure safeguarding.

“In these circumstances we are concerned that children could put, not only themselves, but the wider community at risk.

“We think it’s right and appropriate to be honest and transparent with parents about their responsibilities during this national crisis.”

PA