POLICE have been handed new powers to fine Brits up to £1000 for breaking rules for being outside their homes from TODAY.
Officers will aim to slow the spread of coronavirus by asking people to go indoors and will be authorised to use force if they refuse.
It forms part of a four step plan to engage, ask, fine and then force people to comply and keep the nation safe.
The base rate for the fine is £60, which is then reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
Several of the same offences will see the charges soar, with Brits hit with a £960 fine for not doing their bit.
Under the plans, if an officer sees someone out of their home and believes they are breaching the lockdown, they start a “four-step plan”.
The officer will first ask the person why they are out, and then explain why the ban is needed.
Then they will encourage the person to return home, and even give them tips on the best route.
If they still won’t go, officers can then issue a fine or use “reasonable force” to make someone go home.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The Prime Minister has been clear on what we need to do: stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives.
“All our frontline services really are the best of us and are doing an incredible job to stop this terrible virus from spreading.
“That’s why I’m giving the police these new enforcement powers, to protect the public and keep people safe.”
Speaking this morning, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone backed the new powers.
He said: “Where there are instances of defiance or non compliance we’ve been intervening and giving pretty firm advice, but clearly at this state we do not have enforcement powers attached to them.
“As you might imagine I expect and would require our officers to speak to citizens and make it very very clear what the elections are and why they need to comply with those requirements.
“If they refuse, as I understand the legislation that’s going to be implemented we will have a power to instruct them to return home, to use reasonable force if required, and if there’s continued defiance at the absolute backstop a power of arrest.
“I would genuinely expect that to be used very frequently if at all.”
Fines will start at £30, but there is no cap on the charge.
Paying up will see Brits avoid a criminal record, but failing to do so will have those refusing to leave hauled into a magistrates court and prosecuted.
It comes after a study sparked fears that half of the UK population may have already contracted the virus.
University of Oxford research suggested the disease could have become prevalent in the country two months before the first case was diagnosed.
Meanwhile, a coronavirus home test kit will be available “within days” – from Amazon and Boots, the Government has revealed.